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County Commission Highlights Underage Drinking

March 20, 2013
County Commission Highlights Underage Drinking

With prom season and graduation parties on the horizon, Grand Traverse County Commissioners are raising the issue of underage drinking. Prompted by a presentation by Marybeth Novak of Catholic Human Services, commissioners proclaimed April as “Social Host Awareness Month" and are urging area parents to take measures to eliminate underage drinking.

“Social host laws have been around for quite some time, but underage alcohol consumption continues to be the leading cause of death among those 12 to 20,” Novak tells The Ticker.

Allowing minors to consume alcohol on premises and furnishing alcohol to a minor are crimes that carry penalties of 30 days to up to 10 years in prison if a minor is killed as a result of having consumed alcohol, according to GT County Prosecutor Robert Cooney.

“About 20 years ago, this community witnessed just how devastating the results of these crimes can be when three teenagers were killed in a drunk driving crash on the Peninsula where the driver had been consuming alcohol at a party hosted by his parents prior to driving,” recalls Cooney. “The parents were prosecuted, the driver, a teenager himself, spent 15 years in prison, and one other teenager suffered life-long serious injury, all because of one bad decision to allow minors to consume alcohol.”

The board resolution notes that:
• Alcohol kills 6.5 times more young people than all other illicit drugs combined.
• Use among teens often accompanies traffic fatalities, suicides, unprotected sex, drug use and other high risk behaviors.
• Alcohol is a factor in the four leading causes of deaths among persons ages 10 to 24, including motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide.
• Underage drinkers consume 16.5 percent of all alcohol sold in Michigan.
• Michigan ranks 16th in the percentage of alcohol consumed by underage youth.

The proclamation was sent to school superintendents and local bodies of government.

Novak says a 2010 survey of seventh, ninth and 11th grade students from GT County shows that 70 percent of ninth and 11th graders say alcohol is easy or very easy to get. The most likely places for seventh and ninth graders to get booze were at home or someone gives it to them. High school juniors say the most common way to get alcohol was having someone buy it for them with the student’s money.

GT Sheriff’s Department data shows a dip in the number of Minors in Possession arrests in recent years. In 2008, there were 281 MIP arrests, then 287 arrests in 2009. That slid to 240 in 2010, 158 in 2011 and 182 last year.

“Please keep in mind these are only the number from the Sheriff’s Department and do not include arrests or citations for Minor in Possession from the Traverse City Police Department or Michigan State Police in our area,” explains Capt. Randy Fewless of the GTSD.
 


Most Recent Comments

 
Terry Hoofer on April 10, 2013 8:58am

It's all about the money. Get caught, go to jail, court, classes, thousands of dollars, two years later you may have your life and your job which you've lost because you can't drive to work so you can pay for all this. Loose your job and more self esteem. Drinking is such a problem here, have you driven a teen to blow and urine test on 8th street(the only place)try to find a parking space.
Go to the casino some night, we don't gamble but had to see for our self. They get served, a lot. Several figure it out themselves. DD's. AA

Lee on March 20, 2013 4:21pm

How many drinking and driving fatal accidents have occured in Traverse City that include teanagers since the accident on the Peninsula over ten years ago. I do not support teenage drinking. However, I do believe that the parents of Traverse City teenagers work well together to ensure the safety of their children. Children will live up to what you expect from them.

Safe Kids North Shore on March 20, 2013 1:55pm

Thanks Marybeth for awareness Parents/schools should know Safe Kids North Shore along with our partners from MSP, GTSO, Leelanau Co Sheriff’s Office and Antrim Co Sheriff’s Office go to local high schools in April/May/June and teach 3D (Diminish Distracted Driving) which also touches on underage drinking and driving. We go to high schools in a 5 co range. Your school can participate: it's free.
www.gtinjuryprevention.com www.facebook.com/safekidsnorthshore
Also glad to see that the wisqars tool is being utulized.

John on March 20, 2013 1:37pm

Let me declare that I AM NOT AN ADVOCATE FOR UNDERAGE DRINKING. I think our efforts would be better spent teaching RESPONSIBLE drinking (To Everyone). You cant stop the underage drinking. For example, the teaching of abstinence in schools... Now is taught as "safer sex". Now we need to take a look at not getting the kids to Drink and Drive rather than not touch alcohol.

Lynn in TC on March 20, 2013 11:36am

Perhaps Marybeth Novak could provide us with the statistical source of her “leading cause” statement. I’m hopeful it’s based on legitimate data from an unbiased source, and not simply the interpretation of the data by an agency in an effort to further its own agenda. While I appreciate the efforts of entities like CHS and MADD, they often seem to blur the line between what the data actually shows, and what they think that means. There is a big difference between something simply being a “factor,” and something actually being a direct causative agent.

Dave on March 20, 2013 11:00am

How can you not expect our young people not to take a drink? TC promotes alcohol as one of its points of tourism with all the wineries and breweries and now the new pub mobile expected soon. Its a difficult town to live in if you want to avoid alcohol.

Don on March 20, 2013 10:31am

David yes it does. To say it is the LEADING cause of death is just agenda propaganda

David on March 20, 2013 10:05am

The CDC website indicates "Unintentional Injury" is the leading cause of death ages 1 to 44, which certainly includes death by alcohol consumption.

Don on March 20, 2013 8:55am

“Social host laws have been around for quite some time, but underage alcohol consumption continues to be the leading cause of death among those 12 to 20,” Novak tells The Ticker.
=========

Bull. Do a little research. Straight from the CDC website.

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/10LCID_All_Deaths_By_Age_Group_2010-a.pdf

Jon on March 20, 2013 7:58am

So why not just become pro-active and make it manditory to have a breathaliser/starter on ANY car that ANYONE under 21 will drive?
If the government is so damned anxious to stop the accidents, then they , I'm sure, would be willing to foot the bill.
While they are at it, have EVERY car MANUFACTURED that way--and also anti texting devices in EVERY car---!

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