Ithaca Times

Group Seeks Grant to Curtail Underage Drinking

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Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 11:43 am

A representative from the Seneca County Substance Abuse Coalition announced at the Ovid town board meeting August 14 that she was again seeking the support of the Town of Ovid Board for the group's operating grant, which will run out in June, 2014. In March 2011, United Way of Seneca County was awarded a three-year grant from New York State to reduce underage drinking among 9th-12th grade students. The grant was made possible by the work of the Substance Abuse Coalition.

According to their website, Seneca County Substance Abuse Coalition (SCSAC) set three priority problems to target in their community regarding underage drinking: (1) youth are obtaining alcohol from people that are of legal age, (2) parents think that it is okay for youth to drink as long as they are not driving, and (3) throughout the community, adults and youth believe it is acceptable for youth under 21 years old to drink alcohol. The Coalition has been working to stigmatize parents who allow minors to drink in their homes; In conjunction, SCSAC is working on instituting a “Social Host Ordinance” which can make adults who serve or provide alcohol at their premises to minors or people who are obviously intoxicated liable.

A packet of information was given to board members. It contained data from a survey taken since the representative’s last visit. It is also available online. Board members and others are encouraged to go online to respond to the survey. The results of the last survey taken among Junior and Senior High School students were alarming and substance abuse is being experienced by elementary students as well. Much of it “takes place in the home with apparent parental consent,” according to the survey. The grant will provide opportunity for the Coalition to survey students bi-annually. Going through the Sheriff's Department, they can quantify and compare the data over a three-year period. The next survey will include elementary aged children.