Archive for Monday, March 3, 2008

Task force to tackle underage drinking

Several agencies join forces after survey results raise concern

March 3, 2008



The Lawrence Task Force to Address Underage Drinking will offer a free forum at 6:30 p.m. March 31 at the Lawrence-Douglas County Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.

Lawrence parents have an opportunity to help curb underage drinking.

"As our children become more independent, we all have a responsibility to ensure they are provided the tools to make healthy choices around the use of alcohol," said Rich Minder, a Lawrence school board member.

Representatives from several agencies have formed the Lawrence Task Force to Address Underage Drinking, and the group will conduct a free forum at 6:30 p.m. March 31 at the Lawrence-Douglas County Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.

Of concern are results from a Kansas Communities that Care survey given to students in Douglas County last school year. On the survey, 10.4 percent of eighth-graders who responded said they had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row at least two weeks prior. That's compared with the state average of 9.3 percent, according to the survey.

Members of the task force include representatives of the school district, law enforcement, the business community, parents, DCCCA and the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project. They met last Thursday.

"We've got a lot of people coming to the table at the right time," said Jen Jordan Brinkerhoff, director of the Regional Prevention Center at DCCCA, an organization whose mission includes prevention and treatment of alcohol abuse.

The group is planning the town hall meeting to help encourage parents, teachers and other adults to learn more about preventing underage drinking. Topics covered will include how to talk to kids about alcohol and drugs, how to tell whether they are using them and genetic links to alcoholism.

Brinkerhoff also said she planned to work more with Kansas University to talk about underage drinking.

The Kansas Highway Patrol and Lawrence Police Department are two sponsors for the town hall meeting.

In the last five months, Lawrence police officers have tried to raise awareness about problems with underage drinking. Using state grant money, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 8 officers conducted compliance checks at Lawrence retail stores. Underage buyers, who were 18 or 19 years old, were able to purchase alcohol at 15 of 56 stores, or approximately 27 percent, according to a statement from Sgt. Dan Ward.

The Police Department plans to continue the random checks.

To learn more about the task force or the forum, call Brinkerhoff at 841-4138 or send e-mail to


jonas 9 years, 9 months ago

"On the survey, 10.4 percent of eighth-graders who responded said they had five or more alcoholic drinks in a row at least two weeks prior."

Hasn't anyone ever figured out that middle-school kids lie when they take these surveys to make it more fun. When I took it as a middle-schooler I said I used heroin at least once a day.

vhawk 9 years, 9 months ago

It is likely that many of the students were being honest, when I took those surveys in Junior High and High school I was honest.

lonelyboy 9 years, 9 months ago

Better pay attention to ASTROS ,,you could bust them every weekend

CarterFaucheaux 9 years, 9 months ago

18 and 19 year olds with alcohol! AHHHHHHH!!!!!! NO!!!!!!!!!!

who cares? 18 year olds should be able to drink. this little task force won't change anything. freshmen in college (and seniors in hs for that matter) are going to drink no matter what. let's teach people how to drink in moderation and have a good time rather than pretending like it's going to go away.

Jcjayhawk1 9 years, 9 months ago

Old enough to get drafted..... Prosecuted as an adult....Old enough to drink. No exceptions.

WHY 9 years, 9 months ago

It is odd that they refer to it as a problem without citing any evidence of a problem. While I see drunk adults causing problems frequently I can't remember the last time a drunk 16 year old kid bothered me. Kids are smart and they drink far away from other people and do their best not to be caught. Tell your kids you will drive them to and from any party no questions asked and keep the kids safe.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 9 years, 9 months ago

Why isn't this a problem for any age? What is it about our society that we have to pump alcohol and drugs into our bodies to feel good or to have a good time. Are we really that boring? I'm not against alcohol in moderation. I have a glass of wine or a Guiness every now and then, but explain to me why some people can't have fun unless they get drunk. It's kind of sad really.

Escapee 9 years, 9 months ago

Hawkperchedatriverfront is right on this time. If your kid is out partying underage, blame yourself for being a lazy parent. It isn't that hard to keep track of your kids. And if they make some 'mistakes' -- punishment is a consequence. Ever hear of that, Lawrence? P-U-N-I-S-H-M-E-N-T. Burying your head is not an excuse. Allow your kids' friends into your home. Be there. Provide activity.

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