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Underage Drinking Prevention Kick-Off Event Scheduled

(1/15) Alcohol use by young people under the age of 21 is a major public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), underage youth who drink alcohol are more likely to experience problems in school, family and social problems, legal problems, developmental problems, and problems with other substances. In addition, youth who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop a dependence on alcohol later in life than those who begin at or after the age of 21. To combat the problems associated with underage drinking, the Frederick County – Alcohol Prevention Initiative (FC-API) Coalition will be hosting a kick-off event on Thursday, January 23 to announce activities and events planned in 2014.

According to a community youth survey conducted in 2012 by the FC-API Coalition, 44% of youth reported having their first drink of alcohol under the age of 21. Of that, 21% reported they had their first drink between the ages of 13 and 16.

Furthermore, the youth survey highlighted that youth obtain alcohol from older friends, friends’ homes, and at private parties.

To raise parent awareness of this growing health concern, the FC-API Coalition will be hosting educational events to inform parents how youth are obtaining alcohol, ways to reduce access to alcohol, and to provide them with tools to strengthen their parenting efforts. The programs will also inform parents/caregivers/other adults of the consequences for providing alcohol to minors. Parents in attendance will be introduced to the "Power of Parents" program from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the program "Parents Who Host Lose the Most". Law enforcement activities to reduce youth access to alcohol, merchant trainings to support responsible beverage sales, and a media campaign are also slated to be conducted in 2014.

These events are made possible through a grant from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration as part of the Maryland Strategic Prevention Framework program and through the collaborative efforts of the Frederick County-Alcohol Prevention Initiative Coalition. The mission of the coalition is to promote and support an environment absent of alcohol-related consequences for youth and young adults in Frederick County.

All residents of Frederick County are welcome to join us on Thursday, January 23, 2014 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Whitaker Commons on the campus of Hood College located at 401 Rosemont Avenue in Frederick to kick-off activities for 2014. For more information about the coalition or the kick-off event, please call 301-600-3390.

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