In an effort to warn youth about excessive alcohol consumption, Montgomery County’s Keeping It SAFE (KIS) Coalition on Under 21 Alcohol Prevention has distributed educational posters to every Montgomery County high school and liquor store that warn of the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning. A recently-released Youth Risk Behavior Survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found nearly one in four high school students nationally have had five or more alcoholic beverages in one sitting over a 30 day period. The CDC estimates that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with approximately 75,000 deaths per year.
“Our youth need to hear a consistent message from all corners of our community,” said KIS Coordinator Meg Baker. “And, while our focus remains on preventing under-21 consumption of alcohol, we understand that some of our youth will continue to consume alcohol, and we want them to be aware of the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning.”
The poster contest was the idea of Stephanie Quinn, a student intern in the Montgomery County Police Department and a member of the Keeping It SAFE Coalition. Her idea was to use the posters to educate teens on the signs of alcohol poisoning in their peers. Four posters were selected from Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Richard Montgomery and Walt Whitman high schools, and were reproduced and delivered to every Montgomery County high school.
“Even kids who don’t drink alcohol sometimes come across others who do,” said Quinn. “Reacting appropriately to a potential alcohol poisoning victim could be life saving.”
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention reports that young people ages 12 to 20 years drink approximately 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90 percent of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinking.
The Keeping It SAFE Coalition on Under 21 Alcohol Prevention is an independent coalition whose mission is to reduce adolescent access to alcohol and to reduce the effects of alcohol use in youth under the age of 21. KIS partners include Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control, Kensington Fire Department, Montgomery County Project Prom/Graduation, Emergency Nurses, MCPS-Safe and Drug Free Schools, Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office, Washington Regional Alcohol Program, MADD, and concerned individuals.
For more information, call 240-777-6652 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/kis.
# # #