Friday, May 28, 2010

Portland Police and local bars partner up for prevention

Regarding youth and underage drinking:

As seen recently in the press, there is a new initiative launched by the Portland Police, Portland Downtown District, and the Night Life Oversight Committee. While these plans were hatched many weeks ago, the press conference in Monument Square served as an appropriate backdrop.

All of us at 21 Reasons are saddened by this recent tragedy, which is one more example of the incredible damage that can result when young people are exposed to alcohol.

The vision of 21 Reasons is to build a community where youth are alcohol-free. This is because young people’s brains are still developing; they simply aren’t wired yet with the impulse control or judgment to handle the influence of alcohol.

21 Reasons is proud to partner with the Portland Police Department and the Night Life Oversight Committee to help realize our vision—and theirs—for a safe and legal Old Port.

As part of our partnership, we offer a variety of resources and support for Portland alcohol licensees, including signage, low-cost seller-server training, and a resource guide that explains laws and best practices for liquor licensees. In addition, we host a website,, that aims to reduce high risk (binge) drinking among young adults.

We hope that this tragedy will help raise awareness that the dangers of underage and high risk drinking go far beyond drinking and driving. Two thirds of underage alcohol-related deaths have nothing to do with automobiles. It is more likely that youth who drink will die from unintentional injuries—such as drowning, falls, burns—or death from homicide or suicide.

Beyond the mortality statistics, youth who drink alcohol experience adverse effects in brain development, and are at an increased risk for developing alcohol use disorders as adults. Alcohol also plays a role in youth depression, sexual assaults, vandalism, and other violence.

This tragedy is one more sad illustration of the importance of preventing underage and high risk drinking, and how we all need to do a better job—not just alcohol establishments, but also parents and other adults—in making sure underage youth do not have access to alcohol.

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