The Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA) and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC) offered local high and middle schoolers the opportunity to participate in the first Youth Art Month Poster Contest in March. The focus of the poster contest was “Underage Drinking Not a Minor Problem”. The focus of underage drinking coincides with April’s Alcohol Awareness Month.
Over 30 entries were received from Andover, Scio, and Wellsville school districts. The posters were judged by the residents of ACASA’s Residential Program and Prevention Staff. Andover 8th Grader Gabby Terhune was the overall winner of the contest. Morgan Satterlee, Gracieanne Gaylord, Audrianna Eveland, and Jordan Graham were also winners from Andover. Scio 9th Grader Trace Woodruff took first place for the high school level. Drake Irwin, Brooke Budinger, and Benjamin Weimer of Scio also were winners. Each winner was awarded Wellsville Chamber Dollars to be used at local businesses. “The purpose of the contest was to get young people in Allegany County to think about underage drinking and express their messages through art,” states Coalition Coordinator Jon Chaffee. “I think for the first year the turnout was great and we hope to get more involvement next year.”
Alcohol has been the drug of choice for youth in Allegany County, followed by tobacco use. According to the New York State’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
- Adolescent use among teens is associated with the three most common causes of teenage deaths: accidental (such as car crashes), homicides, and suicides.
- On average, eight youth per day die in alcohol-related car crashes in the U.S., and nine out of ten teenage car accidents involve the use of alcohol.
- Alcohol use and higher levels of use among adolescents is associated with poor grades, absenteeism, and higher rates of school dropout.
- Due to the fact that the brain continues developing through age twenty-five, alcohol use can damage the teen brain, disrupt growth, and interfere with learning. There is no organ of the body that is not affected by alcohol consumption.
- By the time students are in their senior year of high school, four out of five teens have consumed alcohol, and adolescents who drink are likely to be heavy drinkers or binge drinkers.
Getting young people to think about the dangers of alcohol use is half of the equation, the second half is for adults to discuss alcohol and drug use with them. 52% of 7-12 graders reported their parents had never talked to them about the dangers of underage drinking. Research shows that teens whose parents communicate with them about underage drinking being unacceptable are more than 50% less likely to drink than teens whose parents give them other messages about underage drinking. OASAS has many resources for parents on how to talk or text their children about difficult topics at https://talk2prevent.ny.gov/parents.
Remember, Prevention Works!