Fight against underage drinking also targets adults |

Fight against underage drinking also targets adults

In its efforts to combat underage drinking, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is targeting parents as much as teens.

“It takes everyone being on the same page,” board member Misty Schulze said.

Grand Futures has set curbing underage drinking as its primary focus in 2006.

“We still believe that alcohol is one of the gateway drugs,” Schulze said. “Moffat County students continue to use alcohol at an extremely high rate.”

Members of

the Grand Fut–ures board at—-tended an interagency meeting Wed–nesday to present the latest statistics to those who work with youths and to garner support.

Of the 488 Moffat County students who responded to a 2005 drug and alcohol survey, 75 percent said they had tried alcohol.

Delaying the “age of onset,” when a youngster takes that first drink, is one of the campaign goals.

Fifteen-year-olds who drink are four times more likely to become alcoholics than those who wait until they reach the legal drinking age, according to a presentation sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Their goal, Schulze said, is not just to drink, but to get drunk.

Several facets of underage drinking have changed since this generation’s adults were teens, Schulze said.

Among them is the potency of the alcohol that teens choose, the speed at which they drink it, the frequency of drinking and the availability of alcohol.

Psychotherapist Gary Gurney said drinking used to be considered having a few beers. Now it consists of downing shots of hard liquor such as Jagermeister, he said.

Some celebrate a 21st birthday with the intention of drinking 21 shots, Schulze said.

Schulze, who also works at the District Attorney’s Office, said a majority of youth crimes have a consistent factor — alcohol.

Still, most of Wednesday’s discussion focused on adults. Not only do adults make drinking socially acceptable, many give teens access to alcohol.

“It seems that somehow you have to get to the adult population and take the time and the opportunity (to drink) away from kids,” school district Assistant Super–intendent Joel Sheridan said.

Schulze said the District Attorney’s Office is cracking down on adults who provide alcohol to minors.

“There’s a lack of parental responsibility,” board member Kelly Updike-Goodwin said.

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