- 74% of Marion area residents indicated that alcohol use by teens is a moderate or serious problem (per their response to a random survey in Summer 2004).
- In a Marion school survey conducted in 2002, 1 of every 5 sixth graders and 1 of every 2 eleventh graders drank alcohol in the previous 30 days.
One of the norms in Iraq right now is soldiers helping Iraqi people. One of the other norms in Iraq right now is random bombings that injure and kill people. Sometimes a norm is a positive thing, and sometimes it’s not.
In Wisconsin, drinking in the teenage years is a norm. It is also illegal, just like shoplifting. Wisconsin is one of the few states in the country that allows minors to be in a bar with their parents. It is important that communities think about these norms, and the results that the norms have.
Teenage drinking is a problem because the effects of alcohol on a teenage brain are different than the effects on an adult brain. For instance, people who start drinking at age 14 are 4 times more likely to become alcohol-dependent than if they wait until age 21 (http://www.theantidrug.com/drug_info/drug_info_alcohol.asp). In addition, when young people engage in early drinking, they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior (putting them at risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease like HIV/AIDS and/or getting pregnant). These are dangerous and potentially deadly consequences that would not help create a healthy Marion area. We need to work together to change this norm.
What can YOU do about this issue: Listen to local talk about “getting drunk”and “partying”– decide if that is a message you want young people to hear. Become informed about school policies around alcohol use (eg, co-curricular code). Don’t allow your child to attend parties that involve alcohol. Contact other parents or police if you suspect there is a youth party with alcohol. Get involved in the Marion Area Coalition for Healthy Communities to make the Marion area as safe and healthy as possible. For more information, contact the Marion Area Family Resource Center in the lower level of the library or at 715.754.2491.
We need people working together for a safer and healthier Marion Area.
In the upcoming issues of The Marion Advertiser, the Coalition will be presenting this and other information in small articles. Please watch for the articles and let us know what you think. For more information, contact Trinitie Wilke at 754-2491 or firstname.lastname@example.org.