April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and 73 Washington communities are using Town Hall meetings to raise awareness and mobilize efforts to prevent underage drinking.
A youth-led event, “It’s Only Fun If You Remember It,” is scheduled for 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. April 27 at Mel Korum YMCA, 302 43rd Ave. S.E., Puyallup. It is sponsored by Trauma Trust of Tacoma. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, underage drinking cost the citizens of Washington $1.4 billion in 2007. Physical and sexual assault, traffic fatalities, suicide, brain impairment, academic problems, alcohol dependence and alcohol poisoning are some of the costly health and social problems resulting from underage drinking.
In 2010, 14 percent of eighth graders, 28 percent of 10th graders, and 40 percent of high school seniors reported using alcohol in the past 30 days, according to the Washington Healthy Youth Survey. Heavy and problem drinking were indicated for nine percent of eighth graders, 18 percent of 10th graders, and 28 percent of 12th graders. Those who start drinking by the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults.
The Town Hall Meetings are funded by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and supported by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery and the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.