Town Hall Meeting Focuses On “The Facts and Reality of Underage Drinking”

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PERTH AMBOY — The dangers of under-age drinking will be showcased on April 14, as area youth, members of the faith community, Board of Education president and community leaders will address area youth and their parents at a town hall meeting to be held at the Alexander F. Jankowski Community Center in Perth Amboy.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the community center located at 1 Olive Street. It is part of Alcohol Awareness Month, an annual event that encourages communities to reach out to the public with information about alcohol and alcoholism as a chronic, progressive disease, fatal if untreated, and genetically predisposed.

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The forum, titled “The Facts and Reality of Underage Drinking,” is presented by the Perth Amboy Municipal Alliance and their Youth Coalition as well as NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc. and the Coalition for Healthy Communities’ Underage Drinking Taskforce.

The event will feature a panel that is planned to include: Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda Diaz; Samuel Lebreault, president of the Perth Amboy Board of Education; Pastor Paul Sears, Abundant Life Worship Center; Dennis Bubenheimer, Renovation House alumni; Jaidys Maldonado, Perth Amboy Youth Alliance; Liliana Ribeiro, Perth Amboy High School’s Youth Community Leadership Academy; and, Jason Victor, NCADD preventionist.

The 2011 town hall meeting is designed to increase the public’s awareness that alcohol use by persons under age 21 years is a major public health problem. In fact, Alcohol is the most widely used substance of potential abuse among America’s youth. The forum will highlight facts such as:

Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs.

Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.

More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.

On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.

In 2008, there were approximately 190,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.

The event will also highlight issues being faced by most Middlesex County communities including a relatively permissive attitude toward alcohol held by parents and their youth and that a large percentage of parents seem to condone their kids drinking underage.

Event organizers expect that the town hall meeting will increase community awareness of the issue of underage drinking and its risks, including memory loss, passing out, emotional problems, legal trouble, alcohol poisoning, risky sexual behavior, injuries, suicide and drunken driving.

For more information, contact Lis Mery Ramírez Perth Amboy Municipal Alliance Coordinator Perth Amboy Office of Recreation at 1-732-826-1690 x 4325 or Al-Karim Campbell, Preventionist at NCADD of Middlesex County, 1-732-254-3344 ext. 23.


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