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Partnerships For Success Tackles Teen Drinking

The statistics are alarming.

A 2005 Fulton County Health Department survey showed that 35% of Fulton County teens, ages 17 to 18, have been “binge drinking” in the last 30 days.

Binge drinking is defined as five or more alcoholic drinks at a sitting.

For youngsters 12 to 13, the number is just 8%. For 14- to 16-year-olds, the number is 21%.

That’s what Lou Moody, Fulton County Family & Children First Council, and Brenda Oyer, grant coordinator for Partnerships for Success, told members of the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce at their Monday, March 10 meeting.

Moody told chamber members that Fulton County was one of only five counties in Ohio to be selected to receive a Partnerships grant.

She said Family & Children First Councils were established across Ohio by George Voinovich, former Ohio governor. Partnerships for Success is a strategic planning process, used by the council, to help a community reduce or prevent youth problem behaviors.

Oyer said the partnerships program allows a community to look at a problem that may be larger than one agency can tackle.

“It helps communities come together under the council. All the key players can come together. Multiple agencies can work with one agency.

Other Behaviors

Moody said teen drinking should no longer be viewed by society as a “rite of passage.” She noted new medical studies have shown that the brains of teenagers are not fully developed, and can be seriously damaged by alcohol consumption.

She said it’s the kind of damage that can’t be repaired by taking a pill, or by catching up later.

Also, underage drinking can lead to other risky behaviors.

“When you think about the problem, you should not think in the box. Drinking is only one of the behaviors,” Moody said.

One such problem is drunk driving. Overall, 7.7% of teens had driven after drinking alcoholic beverages. For binge drinkers, the figure is 34.7%.

The same data shows that 23.8% of teens had ridden in a vehicle with someone who had been drinking. Moody said there’s no subway, busses, or other public transportation in Fulton County, so teens have to drive from place to place.

Other risky behaviors include smoking and sex.

“Bad behavior breeds bad behavior. Poor choices breed more poor choices,” she said.

Top Priority

Partnerships for Success selected underage consumption of alcohol as its top priority because teen drinking can lead to other problems.

Among the vehicles chosen to impact the teen drinking problem is the program, “Parents who Host, Lose the Most.”

Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, officially proclaimed Archbold support for the parents who host program at the council meeting Monday night, March 17.

The program targets underage consumption on private property. It is designed to inform parents of the legal, health, and safety consequences of underage drinking.

As part of the program, Fulton County law enforcement agencies have received funds to conduct additional “party patrols,” seeking out places where underage drinking is taking place, and running compliance checks of stores selling alcoholic beverages.

Also, a program for youngsters is set for Wednesday, April 2 at 7 pm at Crossroads Church, Wauseon.

The program, “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Spirits, Healthy Minds,” explains to youngsters why it’s not a good idea for teens to pollute their bodies with alcohol.

Partnerships for Success is also partnering with after-prom committees around the county.

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