Local alliance gets boost
to curb underage drinking

The Hawaii Partnership to Prevent Underage Drinking has been selected for a national "Greenhouse Training Program" to learn strategies that reduce underage drinking.

The Kalihi Valley Homes housing project and surrounding areas were selected by the partnership as a target community for the project.

The Center on the Family's West Honolulu community profile showed nearly 6 percent of sixth-graders and almost 29 percent of high school seniors in that area drank in the preceding month, and 15 percent of seniors needed drug or alcohol abuse treatment, the partnership said.

Honolulu Police Sgt. Robert Lung, chairman of the Hawaii partnership, said the group is "honored and thrilled" to be one of 30 coalitions selected for the program out of about 100 applications nationwide.

The Hawaii partnership has received assistance in developing a plan to involve the entire community in an effort to prevent underage drinking.

"As a community, we need to take advantage of this training opportunity and together to protect our youth and help them to be alcohol-free," Lung said. "Sadly, almost 77 percent of high school students will have used alcohol before they graduate."

Last year in Hawaii, he said, the number of 16- to 20-year-old drivers in fatal crashes with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 was nearly twice that of the national average, at 29.4 percent.

The Greenhouse Training Program provides free, intensive training and technical assistance for one year to emerging coalitions nationwide.

The Hawaii partnership was formed in December to address the underage-drinking problem in Hawaii. It's coordinated by MADD-Hawaii as part of the statewide "Enforcing Underage Drinking Law Program" of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, state Health Department.

For more information about the coalition, call 532-6757.


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