Our committee reviewed feedback from past meetings to prepare for this event. We want to provide new, useful information for adults, while making the evening fun and interactive for kids! The event will include breakout sessions for students grades 4-8 and adults. New Hampton High School SODA POP students will host the student session where they will share why they are drug-free, and coordinate fun, substance-free activities. Adults will first hear from Erika Coleman, Prevention Educator from Pathways Behavioral Services about current and local drug trends, how to prevent problems before they start, warning signs, and resources. Then coalition members will share future plans to decrease underage drinking and mobilize community action!
Underage drinking is a major public health concern in Chickasaw County and throughout the U.S. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 9 million—or one in four, 12- to 20-year-olds—reported alcohol use during the past month. Of these, about 5 million were binge drinkers, meaning they consumed five or more drinks on at least one occasion.
Illegal use of alcohol can result in severe, even deadly, harm to themselves and others. In our own County, over one quarter (26%) of 11th graders reported current alcohol use and 17% reported current binge drinking. According to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in 2010, underage drinking cost Iowans over half a billion dollars in medical expenses, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with underage drinking related violence, traffic accidents, promiscuity, crime, injury, poisonings, fetal alcohol syndrome, and treatment for alcohol dependence.
Each of us has a role and responsibility, Alcohol contributes to issues in every County in Iowa. In Chickasaw County, we are very fortunate to have support for preventing underage drinking including coalition members who devote their time and energy for the well being of youth!
Carol Hopp, Partnerships for Success Coordinator