findings show alcohol, drug abuse
One of the best holidays can turn
quickly into one of the worst memories when teens and alcohol
Paula Goodpaster coordinator for the Ripley County Local Coordinating
Council Against Substance Abuse (LCC), has concerns about the
use of alcohol and other drugs among youth in the county. Her
concerns have merit based on the latest statistics released through
the 2009 Local Epidemiological Profile.
This study, a collaborative effort of the Batesville Community
School Corporation, Stayin Alive (Franklin County LCC) and
the Ripley County LCC, reports a startling number of high school
students have already been active with drugs and alcohol.
In one high school, 75% of the 338 students who responded to the
survey said they had been to a party where alcohol was involved.
More than half reported they had been drunk, and 14% said they
drink alcoholic beverages on a regular basis.
Another stark reminder that alcohol is prevalent is the 15% of
students who said they have actually driven a vehicle after consuming
alcohol and more than half said they have gotten into a vehicle
with someone who had been drinking.
Junior high students are not exempt. More than half of those surveyed
at this particular high school said they have been to a party
where alcohol was served.
Teens arent the underlying problem, according to Goodpaster.
They have to get the illegal substances from somewhere. She noted
that often times parents host parties for their teens so they
will know where they are and that they are safe. The ironic twist
is that some parents do not actively supervise the parties and
some even purchase alcohol thinking its better for
them to be at home than out somewhere else drinking.'
We want to get the message out that it is completely illegal
for parents to host parties where theyre serving alcohol
to minors, Goodpaster noted. I dont say that,
just on behalf of Ripley County LCC. I say that as a parent and
grandparent. She continued by saying the health and safety
risks are huge for underage drinking. Thats why its
against the law. There are parents who think its okay for
teenagers to drink at home, but thats not the case.
Goodpaster has a passion for helping to keep teens safe. Its
my heart, she confided to The Versailles Republican in a
recent interview. She said its close to her because she
has experienced the effects illegal substances can have on a family
through a member of her own family who she loves very much. It
affects the whole family, she noted.
Referring to studies that show alcohol consumption in adolescents
results in brain damage - sometimes permanent - and impairs intellectual
development, Goodpaster says not wanting teens to be involved
with alcohol goes even beyond the fact it is against the law.
It harms them more than they realize, she noted. Research
shows that if someone doesnt drink alcohol until they are
21 years of age, the risk of serious alcohol problems is decreased
Goodpaster takes her job as the coordinator of Ripley County LCC
seriously. The mission statement says in part the group is to
promote local efforts to prevent or reduce the effects of
alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs among citizens of Ripley County.
Part of that effort is done through identifying the problem in
the first place. Thats what the latest study does. It gives
the LCC a tool to use and a place to start. The group will also
address these concerns through prevention/education, intervention/treatment,
and criminal justice/law enforcement strategies.
LCC is working aggressively with other agencies to fulfill their
mission. We dont just want it to be a statement on
paper, Goodpaster noted. We want to put legs to it.
And they are. The group is working diligently to make a difference
in the lives of the next generation of Ripley County residents.
They have sponsored Youth Worker Cafes, have a booth at the 4-H
fair where they distribute information, and most recently served
as the Ripley County Local Advisory Council for the SPF-SIG project
conducted with Ripley and Franklin counties, to name a few of
The group will continue to push forward to bring awareness of
not only alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse, but another concern
is over-the-counter drug misuse.
The LCC hopes to partner with other entities to make Ripley County
the safest it can be for our youth. They encourage parents and
other adults to model responsible behavior and join with the group
to help lower the underage drinking problem in the county.
Have a safe and fun summer, and let children and adolescents
know that parties and celebrations can be fun and eventful without
alcohol, she concluded.
Meetings of the Ripley County LCC are held the third Thursday
of each month at the Ripley County Purdue Extension Office in
Osgood. For more information about this group you can call 812-212-8406
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The next meeting is set for August