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Acting U.S. Surgeon General Kicks Off Nationwide Series of Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage DrinkingSAMHSA Supporting the U.S. Surgeon General’s National Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking
Acting U.S. Surgeon General Steven K. Galson is kicking off a nationwide series of more than 1,600 town hall meetings in March and April to encourage action against underage drinking.
The first meeting takes place on Monday, March 24, 2008, in
The town hall meetings are to raise awareness of the public health dangers of underage drinking, and steps that parents, community leaders and concerned citizens can take to combat and prevent it.
"This problem is not going away on its own," said Dr. Galson. “Only by working together can we make a difference. ‘’
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is sponsoring these meetings along with the Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking and state and local organizations.
The scope of the underage drinking problem is highlighted by a new SAMHSA report that found:
The meetings will bring together public officials, parents and youths with community leaders and organizations in health, education, law enforcement, highway safety, as well as alcohol control and businesses. The goal is to help people find ways to implement recommendations of the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.
"Every state is joining in this extraordinary series of meetings to provide a local solution,” Dr. Galson said.
The nationwide meetings will provide greater insight into the problem of underage drinking and steps for preventing it by reducing demand, availability and access. Parents and other concerned citizens will be given knowledge and tools to address the problem of underage drinking in their communities.
"These town hall events are one of many efforts SAMHSA and its partners are taking to respond to the growing realization that the scope and ramifications of underage drinking are worse than we thought,” said Terry Cline, Ph.D., SAMHSA Administrator. “Ninety-six percent of alcohol dependent adults started drinking before the age of 21, and a growing body of research suggests that alcohol may change the way the brain works and the way it’s wired – potentially having consequences far beyond adolescence."
To learn about the short and long-term consequences of underage drinking, get tips for parents on initiating conversations about alcohol, or to get information on the town hall meetings, go to http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/or call 1-877-SAMHSA7. To learn more about the Acting Surgeon General’s Call to Action, go to http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/underagedrinking/.
Town hall meetings are sponsored by the Federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, which includes the Administration for Children and Families, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Trade Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Office of the Surgeon General, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment, and mental health services delivery system.
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