Programs Target Underage Drinking

by Press Release-Burlington County | Apr 13, 2008
Programs Target Underage Drinking Burlington County is partnering with high schools, social agencies and local florists with new programs to reach teens about the dangers of underage drinking during April - Alcohol Awareness Month.

With 19 high schools in the County having proms from the end of April until early June, the Freeholders and Department of Health and Human Services hope to reach about 7,000 teens through cards inserted into corsage and boutonniere boxes.

“The cards say, ‘Have a Safe and Sober Prom and Graduation. Create Memories, Not Regrets’,” said Freeholder Stacey Farias Jordan who oversees the Department of Health.

“Statistics indicate that if you start drinking before the age of 15, you are five times more likely to become alcohol dependent than if you wait until you turn 21,” Jordan added.

To recognize the serious problems of underage drinking, the County Health Department and Community Partnership for Healthy Adolescents also held a Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest in four high schools.

Students at Burlington City, Rancocas Valley Regional (RVRHS), Pemberton Township and Willingboro were asked to write a 30-second PSA on underage drinking and the devastating effects it can have.

The winning PSA, “Homecoming,” was written by senior Kelsey Coolidge at RVRHS. Her PSA, along with three others and a segment on underage drinking, will tape on April 8 and air later this month on the Burlington County College station WBZC-FM, 88.9 or 95.1. The finalist entries were written by sophomore Rebecca Charest and junior Jennifer Therrell of Pemberton, and junior Briana Craig of Willingboro.

The Partnership for Healthy Adolescents also is collaborating with Burlington County Library in Westampton to provide a resource table at the library with a variety of brochures and literature on the dangers of binge drinking, alcohol poisoning, drinking and driving and underage drinking.

The Burlington County Coalition for Healthy Communities, administered by Prevention Plus of Burlington County, will offer free presentations at the county library on underage drinking Friday, April 11 from 1 - 3 p.m.; Monday, April 14 from 10:30 a.m. -12 p.m.; Friday, April 25 from 10:30 a.m. -12 p.m. and Tuesday, April 29 from 7 - 9 p.m.

The Partnership for Healthy Adolescents is funded by a grant from the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services. For more information, contact Healthy Adolescent Coordinator Elfrieda Francis at 609-265-5548.

The florist card prom insert is sponsored through the County’s Municipal Alliance Program for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. For more information, contact Coordinator Molly O’Keefe in Human Services at 609-265-5538.

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Author: Press Release-Burlington County

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