Town hall meeting addresses underage drinking

Published 2:26 pm Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kicking underage drinking was the focus of a town hall meeting held at Chilton County High School on Thursday morning.

Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell and Erron Price, youth minister at Lomax Assembly of God, spoke and answered students’ questions during the program for Alcohol Awareness Month.

Stilwell presented facts and statistics on social hosting and underage drinking.

Stillwell said people aged 12-20 years drink about 12 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Based on a 2009 CDC survey among high school students, 24 percent binge drank in the last 30 days.

In 2008, there were about 190,000 emergency room visits by individuals under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol, Stilwell said.

Stilwell also addressed the use of narcotics and illegal drugs.

“The majority of things we deal with have to do with the abuse of drugs and narcotics,” Stilwell said.

Price spoke to students about peer pressure and bullying.

“We’ve been surrounded by it our entire lives,” he said. “Our culture has created negative peer pressure in so many ways. Negative peer pressure has consequences.”

The program concluded with a suicide prevention video and remarks from Lisa Dunn, area director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

It was hosted by Chilton Shelby Mental Health Center’s Prevention Services and the Chilton County High School SADD chapter.