Thursday, February 26, 2009

In the News

There are two local news items we’d like to bring to your attention today.

The first is this week’s sentencing of former Deering High School coach Frank Watson and his wife Kimberly. The two were convicted on Monday of furnishing a place for minors to consume liquor, and Watson was additionally charged with furnishing liquor to minors. The sentences include jail time for Mr. Watson, community service for Mrs. Watson, and fines for them both.

This story has helped to highlight the important part that adults play in preventing underage drinking--particularly adults who serve as role models to youth. The story has also highlighted some deeply entrenched cultural values that are harming today’s youth—for example, that teen drinking is a harmless and inevitable “rite of passage.”

Thankfully, we know today that early drinking can have long term effects on youths’ brains, as well as increase the risk of alcohol dependency later in life). We also know that underage drinking is completely preventable.

Adult role modeling is an important part of the community prevention effort, and we encourage all adults to think about the effect that their implied consent can have on young people.

The second item was covered by WCSH6 yesterday: a new bill introduced to Congress to support the 21 Minimum Legal Drinking Age.
The Support 21 Act of 2009 (HR 1028) authorizes a new highly visible media campaign to educate the public about underage drinking laws and build support for their enforcement. It asks the National Academy of Sciences to provide a report to Congress about the influence of drinking alcohol on the development of the adolescent brain.
This seems especially timely in light of the recent news piece on 60 Minutes about the MLDA. You can track the status of the bill here or check back with us, as we’ll keep you posted on its status and let you know when offering support to your representative will be most helpful.

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