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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Substance abuse awareness day

April 2 event tackles underage drinking

By Eliza Hallabeck
Special to the Register

As part of a national campaign against underage drinking, youths and adults are invited to the Hill Regional Career High School for a day of awareness April 2.
The Underage Drinking Prevention: Town Hall Meetings are planned in more than 1,600 communities across the country this year for a week, starting Monday.
At the Hill Regional Career High School, 140 Legion Ave., New Haven residents are encouraged to participate the night of enlightenment on the subject in the school cafeteria.
Between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. more than 200 people are expected to attend the event, organizers said.
Door prizes will be given out and a family-style dinner will be served, which will include baked chicken, gravy and vegetables.
“We wanted to get the information out to the community of New Haven,” said Shanna Barton, who works for the Commission of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention for the city of New Haven.
Barton said most of the statistics that will be shared during the night will be based on a survey of 200 local students done last summer.
According to www.stopalcoholabuse.gov, a Web site backed by multiple federal government agencies, alcohol use among children and adolescents starts early and increases rapidly with age.
“Youth begin drinking at 11 in New Haven,” said Barton. “Nationally, youth begin drinking at 13.”
The local meetings are meant to encourage individuals, families and entire communities to address and help fight the problem of underage drinking.
According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
In 2006, among the male drivers between 15 and 20 years old who were involved in car accidents 24 percent had been drinking, also according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The New Haven Commission on Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention, the New Haven Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking, state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is sponsoring the event, in collaboration with the federal Interagency Coordinating for the Prevention of Underage Drinking.
Eliza Hallabeck is a New Haven Register Intern.

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