PERTH AMBOY — The Middlesex County community is invited to join a discussion among parents, youth, educators and other community members about underage drinking and raising awareness about it.
The dangers of under-age drinking, especially among the county’s Latino community, will be showcased on Monday, April 30, as area youth will be joined by Perth Amboy’s Mayor Wilda Diaz and other community leaders to 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 town hall meeting on underage drinking will begin at 6 p.m. at the community center located at 1 Olive Street Perth Amboy. The event is taking place in recognition 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.
The forum is being presented by the Youth Community Leadership Academy (YCLA) and NCADD of Middlesex County, Inc., the Perth Amboy Municipal Alliance and their Youth Coalition and the Middlesex County Coalition for Healthy Communities’ Underage Drinking Taskforce. It 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:
- Adolescents use alcohol more than tobacco or illicit drugs
- Young people begin drinking, on average, at 13.1 years of age
- Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21
- Alcohol abuse is a major factor in unprotected sex, increasing risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases
- Alcohol abuse is linked to as many as two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes
- Alcohol is a primary factor in the four leading causes of death for young persons under 21
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.
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