Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems
Christian Action League
Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, nearly one quarter of North Carolina youth had their first drink before the age of 13.
Nearly 8,000 youth between the ages of 12 and 17 starts drinking each day in the United States, and most of them receive alcohol from parents, friends, and other siblings. Young people who begin drinking alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and are two and a half times more likely to become abusers of alcohol than those who begin drinking at 21.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month. During this month Town Hall Meetings are held throughout the nation to raise awareness of the legal, health, and safety issues associated with underage drinking. The theme of the meetings for 2012 is “Getting to Outcomes,” which was selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help communities move from greater awareness of underage drinking as a public health problem to actions that will prevent it.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League noted that he believes one of the reasons why underage drinking is so rampant is because the church is largely silent on the issue. “When was the last time you heard a sermon from the pulpit about alcohol use and abuse? Chances are you haven’t ever heard one if you’re under the age of 19,” he said. “Our churches have largely abandoned the subject.” “I personally believe,” said Creech, “the best position for the church to advocate on alcohol is abstinence, whether you’re an adult or a teenager.” Creech added he recognizes that some good and devout Christians might disagree with that point of view. “But when you consider the present day associations with alcohol,” he asked, “where can we find any that are good or uplifting or honoring to God?”
Environmental alcohol prevention focuses on changing the environment to help prevent and reduce underage drinking. Some of the goals are to change the social norms or attitudes relating to the use of alcohol, to control the availability of alcohol, and to strengthen enforcement laws and regulations governing its use.
Some evidence based ways to implement environmental prevention are: responsible beverage service; alcohol compliance checks; happy hour restrictions; controls on alcohol outlet location and density; sobriety and traffic safety checkpoints; social host liability laws; restricted sales of alcohol at public events; and increased taxes on the sale of alcohol.
The Christian Action League of North Carolina has been in the very vanguard of alcohol policy making in the Tar Heel state that is meant to protect the public’s health. Lawmakers in the North Carolina General Assembly look to the League as a leading expert in this field.
This story was drawn by permission directly from a source provided by the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems. The Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems and the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc., serve together as members of the American Council on Alcohol Problems. Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, is the Vice President of the American Council on Alcohol Problems.
For a related story see: Study Connects Alcohol and Sex