More Town Hall Meetings Than Ever Being Held Across America to Address the Dangers of Underage Drinking
Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) News Release
In recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, communities throughout the nation are conducting town hall meetings to discuss what can be done to prevent and reduce underage drinking. This year more than 1,700 community-based organizations will conduct town hall meetings across the country – up from 1,500 in 2008, the last time this national event took place.
Every two years the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) works with other organizations at the national, state and local levels to help sponsor these town hall meetings as part of a concerted effort to promote the U.S. Surgeon General’s National Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking and to promote one of SAMHSA's priority initiative areas, Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness. Through its prevention initiative SAMHSA is working to highlight the nature and scope of this problem and to promote effective strategies for preventing it.
The scope of the underage drinking problem remains enormous – for example:
- 10.1 million underage youth (aged 12-20) are current alcohol drinkers.
- 17.4 percent of underage youth engaged in binge drinking during the past month.
- 16.7 percent of youth age 18 - 20 have driven under the influence of alcohol in the past year.
The town hall meetings work at the grassroots level to raise awareness of the public health dangers of underage drinking, and to provide families and communities with practical steps for steering youth away from underage drinking.
“Prevention is SAMHSA's number one initiative and reducing or even eliminating underage drinking is a key part of SAMHSA's prevention efforts. Town hall meetings are a key part of a national effort to turn the tide against underage drinking. There are early signs that this effort it is paying off – for example, the rate of underage drinking and binge drinking have decreased over the past six years,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D. “We need to build on this progress and get the word out to everyone that underage drinking is not a rite of passage and that parents have the power to help their children choose not to drink."
To read the entire news release, please click here.