Archive for Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Forum takes aim at underage drinking

Students are making progress in refusing drugs, workers say

April 1, 2008


Local health project wins $500k grant

On average, children in Lawrence take their first drink of alcohol at the age of 13. The statistics are staggering, but those are numbers the Douglas County Health Department is hoping to improve on. Enlarge video

Prevention workers at Lawrence's high schools say they are starting to see a welcome trend.

Through support groups and clubs, students at Lawrence High and Free State who are adamantly against using alcohol and drugs are encouraging others to do the same.

"Finally, kids are speaking out, but they need that support to do that," said Diane Ash, an LHS prevention specialist.

That's why Ash said it was important for Lawrence parents at a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the dangers of underage drinking.

She was one of five speakers at the meeting at the Lawrence-Douglas County Community Health Building, addressing an audience of about 40 people. And Ash said it's most important to discuss problems of alcohol abuse with children at a young age.

"Early age drinking is associated with the likelihood of developing a problem later on," said Dr. Elizabeth Penick, a professor in the Kansas University Medical Center's department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Representatives of area law enforcement agencies also encouraged parents to watch their children's behavior to try to detect drug and alcohol consumption.

"Don't be afraid to ask questions. Get involved. You know what's normal. You know what's not normal," said Matt Payne, a technical trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson said his office filed charges against six adult suspects on Monday morning. All six cases included alcohol-related issues.

"Do any of you think those people took their first drink when they turned 21?" Branson asked.

The Lawrence Police Department is also in the middle of an effort through May to step up enforcement of underage drinking.

"We're placing a significant emphasis on house parties and hosting violations," said Trent McKinley, a neighborhood resource officer.

The prevention forum was a partnership among the school district, the law enforcement agencies, DCCCA's Regional Prevention Center, the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project and the Kansas Research Initiative on Addictions. A Lawrence task force is also meeting long-term to discuss the issue.


kansasredlegs 10 years, 1 month ago

When are people going to stop wasting resources on this topic? Kids simply will not listen to the "Do as I say, not as I do" line of crap. Lead by example and don't drink in the first place. By not allowing our young people to learn how to drink responsibly we make drinking taboo and when our 18 year old "kids" go off to college they go crazy, binge drink and some die of alcohol poisoning because all they have been told is not to drink but never shown how to drink.Want to stop underage drinking, stop over-age drinking.Question: How many Illegal Consumption of Alcohol cases would Mr. Branson have to file if the magical legal age to drink was raised to 30 or 40?Answer: A couple of kegs full.

WHY 10 years, 1 month ago

Do any of you think those people took their first drink when they turned 21?" Branson asked.I don't know Mr. Branson you tell me. Idiot.

Confrontation 10 years, 1 month ago

Yet, in Lawrence, parents are pumping their toddlers full of wine. Amazing.

Curtis Lange 10 years, 1 month ago

I started drinking at a young age, legally, and don't see myself turning into a raging alcoholic. Know why? Education. The simple act of drinking at a young age will NOT be the cause of an alcohol related problem later in life.

TtownKUlivin 10 years, 1 month ago

This is amazing..better start setting an age limit on over the counter drugs too because kids these days are going crazy with them. I am curious as to this quote,""Early age drinking is associated with the likelihood of developing a problem later on", how general can you be? What kind of problems are we talking about? Haha, the best part about the article, kids on average take there first sip of alcohol at age 13..nice magic act, where did you pull that number from?!

RedwoodCoast 10 years, 1 month ago

And the rift between these students and the normal ones widens. Sure, they can go to Iraq or Afghanistan when they graduate, carry a gun, and shoot at people. But in three years they'll be of proper drinking age. They're going to need a drink after their first couple tours.I think if alcohol is repressed like this, then when kids finally do have opportunities to consume it, they'll go crazy with it. Usually the kids I knew who grew up around alcohol also knew how to handle it better than those who didn't grow up around it.Of course, it is better not to drink at all, but let's be reasonable here.

Curtis Lange 10 years, 1 month ago

People fail to realize, 18 year olds can drink on bases overseas if the base commander allows it. The "wah wah they can die but they can't drink a beer" argument gets old quick.

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