News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Emmet County citizens coming together for town hall meeting on underage drinking

Emmet County is one of hundreds of communities holding town hall meetings nationwide on March 28 to alert the community to new research on the risks of underage drinking and empower them to take action to stop it. The Town Hall Meeting Preventing Underage Drinking, sponsored by SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environment of Northern Michigan) and the Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation, is set for 6:00 PM on March 24th at the Emmet County Fairgrounds. All are welcome; no registration is required. Dinner will be provided.

The meeting provides an opportunity for parents, teachers, officials, youth, and other concerned community members to voice their concerns and suggest ideas for preventing young people from using alcohol. Fielding questions will be a panel consisting of Ken Dail from Prevention Network, Terry Newton from Harbor Hall, Michael Notorangelo, MD, Psychiatrist/Addictionologist, Judge Fred Mulhauser from Charlevoix-Emmet Probate Court, Matt Baughman, a person in recovery, and Petoskey High School students.

Underage drinking is an important community concern. New data show that approximately 29% of youth age 12 to 20 have used alcohol illegally, according to the Federal government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of Underage Drinking. By the time they reach eighth grade, 41% of adolescents have had at least one drink and almost 20% report having been drunk.

“Research indicates that families have a great deal of influence on whether a child uses alcohol later in life,” said Susan Pulaski, Lead Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist at the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. “What parents may not realize is that children say their parents’ disapproval of underage drinking is the key reason they choose not to drink.” Children and teens are less likely to abuse alcohol if parents are involved in their children’s lives, make and enforce clear rules, and are positive role models.

The town meeting is in follow up to two “community briefings” SAFE members presented earlier this month. “The SAFE students were very pleased with the participation at the briefings—over 200 people came to Pellston or Nub’s Nob. The SAFE group is prepared for another great turnout and are eager to hear people’s ideas for preventing youth from using alcohol,” said Pulaski.

For additional information about the Town Hall Meeting Preventing Underage Drinking, telephone Pulaski at 347-5813.