Sobering data: Students study effects of alcohol |

Sobering data: Students study effects of alcohol

Several Moffat County High School students said no program is going to stop teens from drinking but that one might limit high-risk behavior such as binge drinking and drinking and driving.

AlcoholEdu has that potential. Brought into high school health classes by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, the three-day Internet program focused on the effects of consuming too much alcohol.

“We’re learning what alcohol can do to you and its effects on the body,” freshman Maggie Tucci said. “But we knew most of it before. We get this a lot.”

Eighty-four students participated in the three-day lesson.

The $4,000 program, funded by Moffat County United Way, was made available to communities because of its great success at colleges. Students take a survey before and after the program to determine whether it’s increased their knowledge about alcohol or changed their attitudes or behaviors.

Tucci said alcohol use is rampant among high school students.

“There are lots of parties, and kids drink too much,” she said. “Some kids should pay attention to this, but they don’t.”

She said some students come to school drunk or sneak alcohol into school.

Alcohol is easy to get, sophomore Kevin Steinhaus said. It’s either provided by parents or “buyers” — people who will take an extra $5 or so to buy alcohol for teens, he said. Some students report stories of liquor store clerks charging extra to sell to minors.

“A lot of people say there’s nothing else to do in Craig,” junior Becky White said.

High school health class students have been inundated with drug and alcohol education during the past three weeks, with guest speakers talking about methamphetamines and other illegal drugs, tobacco use and alcohol abuse.

White said guest speakers who tell personal stories about their experiences are the most effective.

Steinhaus said the AlcoholEdu program is worthwhile in that it addresses extremes as opposed to just telling teens not to drink.

“I think you’re not going to stop everyone from going out and drinking on weekends,” he said. “They may not have as much, though.”

Steinhaus said he’s learned enough that he won’t take the chance of drinking and driving.

And that may be enough.

“My hope is to keep them from doing unsafe things — drinking and driving or binge drinking,” said Cindy Biskup, executive director of Grand Futures. “If you really look at the program, it really is about providing (teens) with more information about the effects of alcohol. It isn’t a ‘just-say-no’ thing because we’ve learned ‘just say no’ doesn’t work.”

After it’s purchased, a community can use the AlcoholEdu program in a variety of ways for a year. It will be presented again to high school students in spring-semester health classes, and Biskup said she plans to see whether it can be used at the Boys and Girls Club of Craig and by the juvenile diversion/probation department.

“At least their knowledge will increase, and that’s part of our battle,” she said.

She also hopes local survey results will show the program’s effectiveness, giving her leverage to get funding for the program again next year.

About a month after students finish the program, they’ll be asked to participate in another survey.

“They figure in 30 to 40 days, if students really did get the knowledge they’re supposed to get out of the course, it will change their behaviors concerning alcohol use,” Biskup said.

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