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Committee to combat underage drinking

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Chilton County Children’s Policy Council and Central Alabama Wellness are partnering to form the Community Wellness Committee.

Zina Cartwell of Central Alabama Wellness said being a part of the committee will help implement the organization’s prevention efforts.

The Community Wellness Committee will focus on raising awareness and working to prevent underage drinking and social hosting.

Cartwell defined a social hosting as when someone who can legally buy alcoholic beverages provides them to individuals who are under the legal age at an event.

“It is against the law,” Cartwell said. “If anything was to happen to the teenagers because of that, they could be held liable for that as well.”

The group will be a subcommittee of the Chilton County Children’s Policy Council.

Each county in Alabama is required by law to have a Children’s Policy Council.

Chris Speaks, who serveson the council because he is the Juvenile Court judge, said the council’s goal “is to try to provide services for the children of the community.” He said the council meets once a quarter and usually has 15-20 members in attendance from local organizations.

In addition to warning youth about underage drinking, Speaks said the Community Wellness Committee will highlight the importance of adults realizing the influence they are being on youth around them and the dangers of allowing or promoting underage drinking.

The committee wants to connect the community to the resources it needs in preventing these issues.

Cartwell said this could include parent workshops, booths at community events, getting students involved and doing presentations at the local schools.

The committee met for the first time on Oct. 4 and will meet once a month. Cartwell said the committee is looking for more partners and community members to join.

“It is a working committee that is going out into the community in Chilton County and making sure that parents and young adults, as well as teenagers and the whole community, is educated about the dangers of underage drinking and social hosting,” Cartwell said.

Anyone interested in joining the committee can contact Cartwell at 205-728-8454 or zcartwell@centralalabamawellness.org