Underage Drinking and Driving: A Recipe for Disaster!

With graduations right around the corner the Rim Communities for Youth has suggestions to make sure that graduates and their friends arrive safely at their graduation ceremony and the rest of their life.

Not only are underage drinking parties a concern for those with minor children, they impact neighborhoods through noise and vandalism, they become a drain on tax dollars and they result in longer wait times for police and emergency services on other important calls.

Real harm can come from binge and underage drinking. For students, the result of binge drinking can include scholastic difficulties, personal injury, sexual assault, unintended sex and unwanted pregnancies. Community problems include car crashes, vandalism, crime, fights, a drain on public services and lost public tax revenue.

The Rim Communities for Youth Coalition is undertaking this effort as part of Communities United, a countywide network of community coalitions and its coordinated campaign to curb youth access to alcohol.  Communities United chose the slogan, “Report Underage Drinking: Savings Lives has never Been Easier.” The focus of this campaign is to prevent problems related to underage drinking.

Sixty-seven percent of 11th graders say it is either “very easy” or “fairly easy” for them to obtain alcohol. Seventy-three percent of underage offenders report that they got alcohol from a residence and over half said it was from a house party. (These statistics came from verified series of youth throughout the state.)

In 2012, 67 people lost their lives in alcohol-related traffic crashes in San Bernardino County alone according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Each year approximately 5,000 youth  under the age of 21 die nationally as a result of underage drinking. In 2010, there were approximately 189,000 emergency room visits by people under the age of 21 whose injuries were related to alcohol.

“They are just beginning their lives. Don’t let them ruin it by drinking alcohol underage. The consequences can impact their lives and future greatly and have dire effects,” warns local Sheriff Public Information Officer Gilbert Flores.

According to the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Study, high school students reported that in the last 30 days, 35 percent drank some amount of alcohol and 21 percent “binge drank.” Another part of the survey showed that 10 percent of those who had driven drove after drinking alcohol and 22 percent rode with a driver who had been drinking. California Highway Patrol Arrowhead Area Information Officer Juan Quintero said, “During this prom and graduation season, the Highway Patrol encourages drivers to not drink and drive”.

In an effort to eliminate alcohol and substance abuse by youth, the mission of the Rim Communities for Youth Coalition is to promote positive life choices within the Rim Communities. If you would like to join this effort or need more information about the coalition and its activities call Rim Family Services at (909) 336-1800. You can also “Like” the Rim Communities for Youth on their Facebook page.




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