The Montcalm Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking is working with local pizza shops to spread the word about youth and alcohol problems. Each pizza box that goes out the door will have a post-it type note with three questions. The data is taken from Montcalm County 7th, 9th, and 11th grade youth responses to a health survey called the Michigan Profile for Health Youth (MiPHY).
1) What percent of 7th graders rode with a driver that had been drinking alcohol?
A. 7% B. 21% C. 32% D. 44%
2) What percent of 9th graders said they had at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days?
A. 5% B. 14% C. 25% D. 33%
3) What percent of 11th graders have been binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row) in the past 30 days?
A. 8% B. 15% C. 17% D. 22%
THINK YOU KNOW THE ANSWERS? Here are the answers along with some more information. As you read through these, please keep in mind, the adults set the rules for what is acceptable behavior by youth.
1) The answer is C – 32% of the Montcalm County 7th graders report riding with a driver that had been drinking alcohol. It is thought that most of these drivers are adults in the lives of the 12 to 13 year old 7th graders. The highest risk of death and injury to young people are accidents. The number one “accident” is alcohol related car crashes. As adults drink alcohol and then drive, they are role modeling to their children that drinking and driving is an acceptable behavior. Once these children are old enough to drive, they are much more likely to mix drinking and driving themselves.
2) The answer is C – 25% of the Montcalm County 9th graders report having had at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. This is not referencing a sip of someone elses drink, but a full serving of alcohol. In other words, 1/4 of Montcalm 14 and 15 year olds are stating they are drinking on at least a monthly basis. The research is clear, the younger a person starts to drink alcohol the higher the chances the person will experience problems related to drinking alcohol. Some of these problems include school failure, poor work performance, legal problems, trouble with personal relationships, health complications, ability to earn a higher income, as well as other problems.
3) The answer is D – 22% of the Montcalm County 11th graders have been binge drinking in the past 30 days. Binge drinking relates to five or more servings of alcohol in a short period of time. 11th graders are usually between 16 and 17 years old. Almost all of these youth have their drivers licenses with only two years or less experience. When a person binge drinks, she or he is not having a “social drink”. She or he is intending to get drunk. Can you imagine more than 1 in 5 of our children planning on and then getting drunk at least once a month? Many of these are also “new” drivers. There are a number of adults who still say things like, “Its just a couple of drinks – its part of growing up”. In Montcalm County, it is common that yearly, between 1 and 5 young people will be killed in either in a drinking and driving crash or by alcohol poisoning.
YOUTH CAN’T DRINK ALCOHOL IF ADULTS DON’T PROVIDE IT.
For more information or to become involved with MCPUD, call 989-831-4591.