San Ramon town hall to focus on preventing underage drinking

Event set for Tuesday (May 20), 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Iron Horse Middle School

Local advocates against underage drinking are set to host a town hall meeting at Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon Tuesday night (May 20) to discuss strategies for preventing youths from consuming alcohol.

The event is presented by the San Ramon Valley Alcohol Policy Coalition, in collaboration with the Community Against Substance Abuse and Friday Night Live Monte Vista High School Chapter.

Scheduled to run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the school at 12601 Alcosta Blvd., the town hall is open to parents, students and any concerned community members.

Organizers said the event would touch on a variety of topics, including current community data, an overview of existing policies, stories from people negatively affected by underage drinking and scientific findings about the impact of alcohol on adolescent brain development. There will also be a roundtable discussion to determine policy actions and strategies moving forward.

Patty Hoyt, alcohol policy coordinator for the Discovery Counseling Center in Danville, said the town hall would include information about the California Healthy Kids Survey administered by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District every October.

"In that survey, 26% of 11th-graders and 11% of ninth-graders report having had at least one drink in the past 30 days," Hoyt added. "The survey also found that 15% of 11th-graders report binge-drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the last 30 days."

Underage drinking, Hoyt said, can contribute to a range of health and social issues, including traffic fatalities, suicide, physical and sexual assault, brain impairment, alcohol dependence, academic struggles, and alcohol and drug poisoning.

For more information, visit the Discovery Counseling Center website.


Like this comment
Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on May 20, 2014 at 6:59 am

Agree that alcohol as the gateway drug needs proper education for all youth. So I like the idea of education as a tool to reducing underage drinking. Remember that "underage" is a loose term. It is OK to go to war and kill people, to vote for the president, but it is against the law to drink responsibly.
That said, how many parents educate their own kids on drinking. Like how many beers, or how many shots, does it take to get to various states. How many parents tell their kids that drinking is not allowed, so then the kids structure their lives hiding it from their parents?
My line was if you ever drink and drive you will never drive one of my cars again. That worked. But I have to wonder did that put them in cars where some other drunk idiot was driving? So I said if you are ever in doubt, just call me... and they did. The problem is, no matter what approach we take, it does not eliminate the risk. So does a prevention program eliminate all the risks? No. An education program reduces the risks to be sure, but parents need to be the MAJOR part of the equation. One has to ask, what kind of example do we set. Do we drink and drive? Do our kids see us arriving home after a night of drinking. While they don't necessarily see parents drinking in that situation, they can certain extrapolate... they have seen you drinking with other people at home or at family friends, and figure you are doing it when you go out to a party or a dinner etc. So honesty is probably good. Like I did drink tonight, but I kept the number of drinks to three over the whole night.
I have seen many, many parent, drink a lot in Danville and Alamo and get in a car and drive home. Now mind you, highly likely that many were over the DUI limit however parents going fast and crashing is not a huge problem when driving home short distances. So they make that choice, I wouldn't. But the kids see this.
Think of it... What are the kids seeing? witnessing? Are we discussing honestly what they see. Perhaps it is time to start educating the parents as well...

Like this comment
Posted by MT
a resident of Danville
on May 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

JT - I liked what you had to say and will take it to heart. I have an 8 year old daughter, just one child, and everything you mentioned is like a giant snowball waiting to roll down that big hill. I think about it everyday. I will attend seminars on this subject starting now!

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on May 30, 2017 at 11:10 pm

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