Archive for Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Community group holds forum in an effort to combat alcohol abuse

Community leaders Wednesday gathered to discuss the problem of underage drinking in Lawrence. Douglas County has one of the highest numbers of fake ID incidents in the state. A new plan is looking to reverse that trend.

April 7, 2010


It’s a message alcohol prevention specialists hope teens won’t ignore — a powerful look at a typical night inside Lawrence Memorial Hospital’s emergency room.

John Drees, the hospital’s community education specialist, said the ER sees 1,500 alcohol-related cases a year, or roughly four patients a day.

“We’re trying not to scare kids any more,” Drees said. “We’ve gone to a brutally honest presentation.”

Drees is now attempting to share that presentation with every ninth-grader in Douglas County.

He shared it with the public Wednesday morning at a town hall meeting on underage drinking, put on by the New Tradition Coalition, a group of community members and leaders hoping to change people’s attitudes about alcohol.

“My message to everyone is that we all want to be on the same page,” said DCCCA Director of Prevention Jen Brinkerhoff. “Underage drinking is illegal. It’s unsafe, and it’s unhealthy. If we can all get on that page and send a clear, consistent message to anyone under 21, I think we’d be in a much better place.”

Law enforcement officials have also been cracking down on underage drinking through a special $18,000 “Fake ID 101” grant, awarded by the Kansas Department of Transportation.

“The ABC has indicated that Douglas County has one of the highest number of fake ID incidents in the state,” Lawrence Police Department Neighborhood Resource Officer Trent McKinley said. “That’s why Douglas County was chosen for this grant.”

Since February, Lawrence police officers have teamed up with officers from the Kansas University Public Safety Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and agents with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Officers have been visiting bars, restaurants and liquor stores and checking patrons’ IDs.

“Nothing’s secret,” McKinley said. “It doesn’t need to be a surprise to be effective. We want folks who have fake IDs to be concerned about trying to go out to bars and purchase alcohol and refrain from doing that.”

As part of the special enforcement, police have cited 37 people, for 48 criminal violations. They’ve gone to 94 establishments and asked more than 200 people to see their IDs.

The New Tradition Coalition was formed in 2008, but the town hall meetings have been happening since 2006. The group, consisting of more than 30 members, also meets the first Wednesday of every month at 11:30 a.m. at the DCCCA offices, 3312 Clinton Parkway.


local_interest 8 years, 1 month ago

Ahh good, instead of lying to them and trying to scare them to death, we've moved onto being "brutally honest".

Too little, too late.

Shelbyrules 8 years, 1 month ago

As a health care provider, I am happy to see this article. However, I just visited the DCCCA homepage and can't really understand the mission of the organization. Specifically, is there a fast track (or maybe better termed "crisis") access to services that I may refer clients to?

werekoala 8 years, 1 month ago

Umm, why not just illegalize alcohol?

After all, it works for other drugs, right?

1029 8 years, 1 month ago

We need to get people from Lincoln, Nebraska to come in here and clean up this town. If we just look at Lincoln and learn from them, all of Lawrence's problems will be solved.

woman_n_black 8 years, 1 month ago

I'm sorry, but to anyone who thinks that Lawrence doesn't have a drinking problem or fake ID problem, you're either in denial or in the dark. I'm in my mid 20's, and have lived here a few years. I look like I could be under age. I go to the liquor store every few weeks, and go out to eat (and order a drink) once a week. I've been carded once at a liquor store. ONCE! I got carded at a restaurant last week for the first time...that was only because they "got busted last week". I've stood in line behind kids that couldn't have been out of highschool and watched them buy liquor without being carded. I don't think we would have a problem if police would randomly go into establishments and do checks. There's no law, so there's no order.

Navan 8 years, 1 month ago

I work in a liquor store I check ID's there is a huge problem in this city and blaming business owners is the wrong way to go. It starts at home folks teach your children about alcohol. don't just tell them set a good example. Show your kids how to have a good time with out getting plastered. Teach your kids responsibility.

Those that want to stand in judgment of employees that never card when they are there I can only tell you from fourteen years experience. I have never had a ticket and I have been checked over a dozen times by ABC. You may not have been paying attention while standing in line looking at the back of someones head. I will admit I don't ID people that I know and yes there are customers that you get to know. You know them because they are in once a week or because they have had an interesting question. Just because you were in a line for two minutes does not mean that no one cards in this town. You also may be a person that looks older too. I'm over 30 and still get carded when I go out.

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