(CHENANGO, NY) – Broome County Executive Debbie Preston and Sheriff Dave Harder today announced a collaborative effort between Broome County STOP-DWI, the Sheriff’s Office, Mirabito Energy Products, the KYDS Coalition and local Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Chapters to effectively address underage drinking issues in Broome County.
“Our children are our most valuable resource; so we must provide them the tools to become the leaders of tomorrow. They need to understand that illegally abusing substances leads to an unproductive future of dependency,” said Broome County Executive Debbie Preston. “As parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, friends and community leaders it is our responsibility to educate and lead by example. This is a community problem which requires a community solution.”
The Broome County Sheriff’s Office is stepping up patrols during the busy prom and graduation season to curtail underage drinking and drunken driving.
“The Broome County Sheriff’s Office is committed to the safety and wellbeing of Broome County residents,” said Broome County Sheriff Dave Harder. “Over the coming weeks we will increase patrols to keep our youth safe from poor decisions and to keep the public safe from those who choose to break the law.”
“To properly address the underage drinking problem in Broome County and across the Country, all segments of government, law enforcement, health and youth services and the private sector must work together, said Broome County STOP-DWI Coordinator Chris Marion. “By focusing on only one or two of the issues we are only chipping away at the problem, rather than addressing it head on and improving the lives and safety of our community.”
Mirabito Energy Products, owner of 55 convenience stores in Central New York, is working with Broome County STOP-DWI and the Sheriff’s Office on rooting out underage alcohol purchases and working to identify and prosecute those purchasing alcohol for minors. Mirabito is also the presenting sponsor of the STOP-DWI Holiday Classic in December.
“We see underage drinking and the purchasing of alcohol for underage consumption as a community-wide problem. Mirabito Convenience Stores takes our responsibility not to sell alcohol to minors or those knowingly purchasing for a minor very seriously,” said Mirabito Energy Products CEO Joe Mirabito. “We are committed to our sponsorship with Broome County STOP-DWI to help build awareness and educate people in an effort to make our community safer.”
The KYDS Coalition is strongly discouraging Social Hosting, parties where adults provide alcohol to minors.
“Many parents believe that it’s safer to host parties in their homes for their children and their children’s friends,” said KYDS Coalition Project Specialist Melinda Kmetz. “However, parents who engage in social hosting are putting themselves, their children, and other children at risk. Studies show that drinking at a young age can have lasting health effects. Research proves that heavy drinking when the brain is still developing may cause lasting impairments in brain functions such as memory, coordination, and motor skills.”
Within Broome County’s school districts, SADD chapters are continuing outreach and education efforts to reach students on a peer-to-peer level.
“Windsor SADD sponsors school-wide events to make students aware of the dangers of drunk driving and conducts activities to build student confidence to make the right choices,” said Windsor High school SADD Advisor Corinne Barnes.
“I don’t use alcohol or drugs because I don’t need those things to have fun,” said Binghamton High school 2013 Valedictorian Abbie Budeaux. “It can be difficult because friends can be pressuring you into doing it, but the choices you make define who you are, and you have to live with yourself at the end of the day.”
A recent survey of Broome County youth sponsored by the KYDS Coalition reveals:
– 67% of high school seniors report using alcohol;
– 47% of youth say it’s easy to get alcohol;
– 41% of youth report using alcohol in their lifetime and 24% report using alcohol in the past 30 days;
– 29% of high school seniors report binge drinking compared to the national average of 22%; and
– 15% report binge drinking (having 5 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks). Broome County is higher than the national average of 14%.
Where youth are getting alcohol:
– 15% at home WITHOUT permission;
– 22% from someone over 21; and
– 14% at home WITH permission.