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What are you doing about underage drinking?

By George Greger-Holt
Posted Wednesday, May 24, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - Thank you for bringing to light a problem that has too long gone unnoticed or ignored by our community, that of underage drinking. You are correct in pointing out that teens do drive after drinking and that behaviors by the adults in their homes affect their decisions.

The 2006 Chatham County Schools Alcohol and Other Drug Survey, given to all 5th-12th grade students, indicates that 7% (283 students) report driving after consuming alcohol, up from 4% in 2004. More alarming, 21% (850 students) report riding with someone who was intoxicated, up from 18% in 2004.

The problem is bigger than drinking and driving. Forty one percent (1,660 students) report ever using alcohol and 18% (729 students) report using alcohol within the past 30 days. Nine percent (364 students) report using alcohol at a party when parents are present or using at home with family members and 10% (405 students) report getting alcohol from a family member.

This is a community problem that requires a community solution. The Chatham Community for Alcohol and Drug Free Youth (CCADFrY) has several projects to address the issue. We have conducted Prom Promise activities in all three high schools, where 327 students signed pledges to stay alcohol and drug free on prom night and have awarded prizes to students who participated in our first "Hear Our Voices" anti-alcohol/drug poster contest. We are also currently planning to do alcohol surveys at area stores that sell alcohol, develop a Safe Homes Program where parents pledge not to serve alcohol to underage young adults and develop task forces in each of the three high schools to address student use. The slogan, "What Are You Doing About Underage Drinking?," coined by Elizabeth Vickrey, Co-Chair of CCADFrY, is being used as a model slogan across the state.

Our most ambitious project is the 17th annual Project Graduation scheduled for graduation night, June 9. The event is an all-night party hosted by the community for graduating seniors and their guests to help them celebrate in safety. You can still become a part of the effort. Volunteer to chaperone or send donations to:
George Greger-Holt
Student Assistance/Safe Schools Counselor
Chatham County Schools
P. O. Box 128
369 West Street
Pittsboro, N. C. 27312

The next CCADFrY meeting is June 13, 12:00 at CCCC. Call Elizabeth Vickrey at 548-2488 for more information.

Become part of the solution.

 
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