REGION – During April 2017, communities across Vermont joined together to focus on underage drinking and its effect on individuals, families and communities. Windsor County Prevention Partners and ParentUp, an initiative of the Vermont Department of Health, believe that early education about alcoholism and addiction is a necessary component in keeping kids healthy.
One of the ways for alcohol to stay out of the hands of those under the age of 21 is through Vermont Department of Liquor Control compliance checks. Retailers throughout Windsor County were recently recognized for passing alcohol compliance checks. Windsor Area Community Partnership member, Amy McMullen and Windsor County Prevention Partners coordinator, Courtney Hillhouse presented Retailer Recognition certificates to the following Windsor retailers: Cumberland Farms, Rite Aid, Price Chopper, and The Cheese Board.
When asked about the importance of keeping alcohol out of the hands of youth, McMullen states, “Brain science tells us how harmful alcohol can be to adolescent brain development. The older a person is before the first encounter with alcohol, the better chance the person has for healthy development. All adults owe our youth the opportunity for healthy life choices. Recognizing retailers for passing compliance checks is one of many ways to promote a healthy, pro-youth community.”
A study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, shows that retailers complying with identification checking of alcohol purchasing customers help to make alcohol less accessible to minors, thus impacting youth underage drinking rates. Windsor County Prevention Partners (WCPP) engage in Retailer Recognition initiatives as a way to let the community know that keeping area youth safe matters.
Other retailers in Windsor County who recently passed these checks include: Lisai’s Chester Market, Meditrine Wine & Cheese (Chester), Sandri (Chester), Rt. 106 N. Market & Deli (Springfield), and Ascutney Market.
In Vermont, 30 percent of high school students reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, according to the 2015 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) and 16 percent reported binge drinking five or more drinks in a row. Both numbers have decreased since the 2013 YRBS data of 33 percent past 30 day use and 19 percent binge drinking. Underage drinking risks immediate consequences, including impaired driving, alcohol poisoning, and increased risk of sexual assault, with studies also revealing that 90 percent percent of long-term addictions start in the teen years.
Drugs and alcohol are not easy topics for parents to discuss with kids. However, the key reason kids give for not drinking is that they don’t want to disappoint their parents. Children do care deeply about their parents’ opinions—even if they don’t show it directly. Parents can help prevent alcohol and other drug use with the following strategies:
Limit Access: If alcohol is in the home, keep track of it.
Network and Check In: Get to know the parents of your teen’s friends
Enforce Rules: Be clear with expectations and be consistent
Be Up and Be Ready: Wait up, or set the alarm for curfew time
Be a Good Example: Teens learn about alcohol use from family behaviors. With proms, graduations and summer months approaching, now is a great time to learn more about these strategies and how to take action with ParentUp or on Facebook.
Windsor County Prevention Partners is a collaboration of prevention coalitions and law enforcement working toward reducing underage drinking, binge drinking, and prescription drug abuse in Windsor County, Vermont.