Underage Drinking Coalition wants to involve parents

Loujane Johns

Parents may find it hard to discuss alcohol issues with their children and other parents.  Many find the subject sensitive and hard to approach. 

The Yates County Coalition on Underage Drinking discussed at the January meeting ways to get people thinking and talking about underage drinking.  One suggestion was to set up a website forum, which would allow parents to exchange ideas and information anonymously.  Members of the coalition could monitor the site and offer suggestions for support and information available on the subject.

The coalition is also looking to set a date for a parent forum. 

Last year’s forum was attended by a diverse group of parents seeking answers to questions and wanting to share information. A follow-up youth forum brought teens together for group discussions on the needs and concerns at their level. 

Another media form being considered is displays of books at libraries dealing with drinking to spark an interest in the subject. There are many books available, non-fiction and fiction for all age groups.  The coalition will compile a list of books available.

Director of Public Health Lauren Snyder reported a meeting had been held with the Sheriff’s Department to explore starting a victim impact panel to use as a tool in DWI cases. 

The panel would consist of victims who have been injured or impaired or are relatives of a victim impacted by a DUI/DWI  driver.  They relate how the incident affected their lives.  The victims are asked to tell their story from their heart and not in an accusatory manner.  The offender is faced with a real person and is given  insight into the impact a drunken driver has made on other people’s lives.

The next meeting of the coalition will be on Feb. 14 at the Yates County Office Building from 1:30 - 2:30.  Anyone interested can attend.