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Town hall meetings to focus on underage drinking

By Staff | Oct 22, 2009

Maui County is one of hundreds of communities nationwide that will conduct town hall meetings to discuss and raise awareness of the problem of underage drinking.

The Neighborhood Place of Wailuku (NPW), county Department of Housing & Human Concerns, Maui Police Department and state Alcohol & Drug Abuse Division (ADAD) are sponsoring these meetings.

Parents, teachers, officials, youth and other community members will be educated on the impact that underage drinking has on the community, and develop possible ways to address this issue.

These town hall meetings will increase community awareness on the issue of underage drinking, identify how underage drinking affects the community, and brainstorm possible solutions. Voice concerns and suggest ideas for preventing young people from using alcohol.

Last year, Maui Police Department juvenile investigators made at least 88 arrests for underage drinking.

Each day, 7,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 16 take their first drink. Forty-eight percent of persons age 12 and over in the U.S. are drinkers; this translates to an estimated 109 million people.    

Drinking and driving accidents are the number one cause of death among teenagers. More than 12,000 young Americans are killed each year in accidents involving young people and alcohol. Forty-thousand Americans are disfigured each year in accidents involving young people and alcohol.

Education is an extremely important part of the treatment of underage drinking, NPW reported. Teens rarely understand the dangers of drinking alcohol.

Any interested individuals, families, schools, agencies, organizations or businesses are encouraged to attend.

Each meeting will include information on the possibility of funding to assist with the problems of underage drinking.

Free and open to the public, meetings are slated from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 at the Boys and Girls Club of Lahaina, Nov. 5 at Helene Hall in Hana, and Nov. 17 at the Eddie Tam Gymnasium in Makawao

For information, contact Michele or I‘okepa at 986-0700.