WILDWOOD â€”Some 44 per cent of the county’s eighth-graders, children as young as 12 or 13, have tried alcohol, according to a middle school survey conducted in 2003.
Statistics like that have prompted a new assault on the problem of underage drinking which will be coming to your town in April. The message is to encourage parents to “Start Talking Be-fore They Start Drinking.”
Cape Assist, with offices on New Jersey Avenue here, has a $23,000 grant from the state and additional money from the federal government to train and assist local municipal alliance repre-sentatives to conduct a town meeting for their community.
The main thrust of the campaign is to teach parents how important they are in preventing a problem that may start even earlier than eighth grade and exposes children to risks of violence, premature sexual activity, automobile fatalities and academic problems.
Lynne Krukosky, Cape Assist’s executive director, told the Herald this is part of “new initia-tive nationwide,” including a national call to action by the U.S. Surgeon General to “combat underage drinking.”
She is excited about this campaign because “there are so many levels coming in, there are multiple strategies in multiple places.”
Federal money is paying for local advertising and informational packets for distribution to meeting participants have been put together for Cape Assist so the agency doesn’t have to ex-pend its resources and manpower.
But it is Cape Assist’s responsibility to “raise awareness of the local effects of underage drinking; motivate residents to discourage use and to educate parents and youth about the dan-gers of underage drinking,” according to the agency.
The town meetings are planned for April, since that is Alcohol Awareness Month, but the campaign will kick-off statewide on March 28.
On that day, Cape Assist will host a meeting at the Old Court House in Court House at 7 p.m. and all county residents are invited.
There will be a “brief but very powerful video focused on how society came to accept under-age drinking,” according to Cape Assist.
Panelists, including Under Sheriff Jack Reemmer and retired Student Assistance Counselor Bill Liddell, will discuss underage drinking in this county.
For those who cannot attend that meeting, there will be a second kick-off March 30 at noon at the office of the Mosquito Commission on Route 47.
Cape Assist strongly encourages all residents to attend the town meeting in their area when it is scheduled.
According to information complied by a National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2004, “10.8 million persons aged 12 to 20 (28.7 percent) reported drinking alcohol in the past month,” and “one out of every two eighth graders has tried alcohol.”
Krukosky said that the 44 percent figure for this county, which is in line with the national av-erage, is based on a PRIDE survey conducted in middle schools every two years.
Contact Cote at (609) 886-8600 Ext 31 or: email@example.com
stay in the know