Recent reports show that we are making progress in reducing underage drinking. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey data for Winnebago County shows the percentage of high school students in Winnebago County who have not had a drink in the last 30 days time went from 56% (2007) to 72.4% (2016). April is Underage Alcohol Use and Abuse Awareness Month and a great time to highlight some of the many initiatives Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) supports that prevent youth alcohol consumption.
• re:TH!NK Alcohol Team – This is an action team of re:TH!NK, Winnebago County’s healthy living community coalition, that focuses on community engagement to address alcohol use and misuse. Find out about the initiatives or join the team by emailing coordinators.
• Party.0 – Party.0 is a movement of college students throwing large-scale house parties without drugs or alcohol. Local events are being planned for Winnebago County in the fall of 2017. For more information email the organization coordinator.
• Winnebago County Drug and Alcohol Coalition (WCDAC) – WCDAC is having a kick-off event Monday, April 17th to discuss what the coalition is doing to address heroin, opiates and addiction in Winnebago County and how you can get involved! For more information, click here.
• Governor’s Proclamation – Underage drinking is linked to a number of health and social costs such as a higher risk of anxiety, depression, physical and sexual assaults, poor academic performance, and suicide. Therefore, in recognition of these health and social costs, Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed April 2017 as Underage Alcohol Use and Abuse Awareness Month and encouraging local organizations to use this promotion to educate.
There are many ways to be involved in lowering underage alcohol use and abuse. The initiatives listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to joining a local coalition, we can all help by talking to kids in our lives, supporting school and community efforts, encouraging parents, etc. We are more likely to succeed by tackling issues together as a community.