The Teen Advocacy Coalition (TAC) has partnered with Let's Draw the Line, a state wide prevention effort, to support youth in making healthy choices and avoiding alcohol use. Through activities such as Substance Abuse Prevention Week, After Prom Party and Town Hall, TAC has provided local youth with safe alternatives to have fun.
These events are part of a statewide campaign to engage adults and youth in taking action to reduce underage drinking. The campaign (www.LetsDrawtheLine.org) is sponsored by the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking.
TAC is supporting ongoing statewide efforts to reduce underage drinking in Washington. In 2010, outdoor advertising restrictions went into effect statewide to reduce the amount of alcohol advertising youth see on neighborhood stores and near schools. Over the last five years, the number of alcohol ads seen by youth ages 12-20 has increased 41%, according to the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth. A 2006 study found that the more alcohol ads young people see, the more likely they are to drink.
"Underage drinking is a major health concern in Washington," said TAC Project Coordinator Gracie Manlow. "The good news is that our collective work working directly with youth and planning fun pro-social activities has been effective in preventing underage drinking."
Although alcohol is the primary drug of abuse among youth, the 2012 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey showed that 11,000 fewer students are using alcohol compared to 2010. Since 2008, about 20,000 more youth in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade report that their parents talked to them about not drinking alcohol.
"We're drawing the line because alcohol is especially harmful to the still-developing teen brain" Manlow said. "We want parents and other adults in our community to place a high priority on keeping alcohol away from teens."
With graduation just around the corner, it's important to remember providing alcohol to minors is a gross misdemeanor, with a potential penalty of $5,000 and a year in jail (RCW 66.44.270).
"Our mission at TAC is to provide youth with pro-social activities that reduce substance abuse," Manlow said. "Ultimately, we want to ensure everyone is making healthy choices that will keep them safe."
If you are interested in learning more about TAC or would like to get involved in youth events, please contact Gracie or Tanya and firstname.lastname@example.org. The next TAC meeting will be Monday June 8th at 3:15 pm. in the Raymond High School Library.