Privatization Is Not the Answer
Environmental factors surrounding underage drinking are critical and affect early use — a strong predictor of misuse, abuse and chemical dependency.
It is one root cause of this complex problem that we must be vigilant in monitoring. That includes easy access to alcohol outlets, cheap prices and family attitudes that form behaviors contributing to many local issues.
I share these data with your readers:
— On average, 11,318 American youth (12-20 years of age) try alcohol for the first time each day; ages 12-20 account for 3.6 billion drinks per year in the United States; 20 percent of the U.S. alcohol market is made up of youth under age 21.
— North Carolina had the largest increase in drunk driving deaths in the U.S. South Carolina was second with a 44 fatality increase.
— North Carolina alcohol outlets reported that 39 percent of 120 outlets did not check ID at purchase.
— More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year (about five a day) as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration says that 18 percent of all highway fatalities tested for drugs test positive for both illicit and legally prescribed drugs, in addition to the alcohol data; the Moore County lifetime alcohol use rate for high school seniors is 80 percent.
The proposed changes to privatize the North Carolina ABC system promise to lower prices and provide more access to alcohol outlets.
These goals are just the opposite of what youth advocates are trying to accomplish. Higher pricing and limited access to tobacco products have reduced youth initiation to tobacco over the years, and the same is true of alcohol.
Privatization will not reduce the cost of alcohol-related crashes, deaths and problems in health status, school and law enforcement.
Drug Free Moore County Pinehurst
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