Mayor Taveras, Healthy Communities Office and MADD-RI Host Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking
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Mayor Taveras, Healthy Communities Office and MADD-RI Host Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking

Thursday, May 16, 2013

City residents attend forum during National Prevention Week.

Mayor Angel Taveras and the Healthy Communities Office, in partnership with the Rhode Island Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD-RI), hosted a Town Hall Meeting on underage drinking at the New Dimension Church this evening.

"Underage drinking has personal and community-wide impacts," said Mayor Angel Taveras. "We can all play a role in educating young people about the dangers and risks associated with underage drinking."

The event, "Crush Teen Drinking Before it Crushes Our Teens," provided an opportunity for Providence residents to discuss underage drinking and was held during National Prevention Week.

"We should never underestimate the danger that drug and alcohol abuse brings to our teens, schools and communities," said Gabrielle Abbate, executive director of MADD-RI. "We thank Mayor Taveras and the Healthy Communities Office for supporting the Town Hall meeting to keep families and children injury-free. We are proud to work with a community that is proactive and determined."

More than 26 percent of Providence public high school students reported having at least one drink in the previous 30 days, according to the 2012 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey administered to over 1,200 Providence students by the Rhode Island Department of Health. That was a statistically significant decline from the 2010 survey, when 33.2 percent reported past 30 day alcohol use.

The Town Hall, also sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, included a panel of diverse experts, including representatives of law enforcement and public safety, recovery community leaders, an emergency room physician, youth and parents, as well as MADD-RI.

Panelists facilitated a discussion on what law enforcement can do to promote safety among teens, school involvement in alcohol/drug use concerns, and strategies that parents can use to talk to their children about drinking.

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