I had the distinct privilege and honor to attend the monthly meeting of Washington’s Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD) this last Friday in Olympia. A special guest was State Rep Roger Goodman and he presented for an hour talking about DUI legislation. I was seated between Amy Ezzo, Washington’s Director for MADD and a representative from the Washington State Patrol. Around the room were various representatives from the liquor control board, DSHS, the Attorney General’s office, as well as various other representatives of state agencies. It was truly inspiring to be amongst these talented individuals, all of whom are working together to reduce underage drinking in the state.
RUaD has been working tirelessly to raise awareness and support legislation that targets underage drinking since its inception in 1998. Here are some alarming facts pulled from the RUaD website on students and drinking:
- 40% of 12th graders reported having a drink in the last month.
- 23% of 12th graders reported riding in a car with a driver who had been drinking.
- 12% of 12th graders reported driving a car after they had been drinking.
- 19% of 12th graders reported drinking 3 or more days in the past month.
- 25% of 12th graders reported drinking 5 or more drinks at least once in the past two weeks.
- 36% of 12th graders reported getting alcohol from friends, 31% reported getting alcohol at a party and 19% reported giving money to someone to buy alcohol for them.
Now, for the good news: parents are the #1 influence on their kids on this issue. So, it is important to keep this dialogue with your kids current, as the percent of kids who think you would catch them if they drank alcohol dropped from 72% in 8th grade to 37% in 12th grade.
For more information about underage drinking, go to their website at http://www.starttalkingnow.org/.