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Baron launches Alcohol Awareness Month

From left to right, Minister of National Security Jeff Baron, CADA executive director Anthony Santucci, Director of National Drug Control Joanne Dean and Shadow Minister of Community, Youth and Sports

Senator Jeff Baron this morning officially proclaimed April as Alcohol Awareness Month, urging parents to talk to their children about alcohol.

Joined by Progressive Labour Party MP Michael Weeks, Anthony Santucci, the executive director of CADA, and Joanne Dean, Director of the Department for National Drug Control, Mr Baron said it was critical that young people were educated about alcohol.

“The objective for Alcohol Awareness Month, 2017 is to raise public awareness about underage drinking,” he said. “This year we are encouraging parents and adults to take personal responsibility for making alcohol less accessible to our young people.

“The younger a person is when they begin consuming alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an addiction to alcohol.

“Statistics tell us that youth who drink are more likely to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems so it’s imperative to have a supportive family environment which helps with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.”

Mr Baron said that according to statistics, children who discuss alcohol with their parents are 50 per cent less likely to engage in underage drinking, adding: “That’s where the education begins, that’s where the empowerment begins. When we stop and talk to young people.”

Mr Weeks said that the issue of underage drinking goes well beyond a policing matter, saying: “This is a health issue. This is a community issue, so we all have to do our part to make sure our children are safe.”

He noted that successful strategies to address underage drinking have been introduced in Iceland, saying that country’s “enforced common sense” approach has reduced in underage drinking falling from 42 per cent to 5 per cent.

Mr Santucci, meanwhile, stated that as part of Alcohol Awareness Month, CADA would be hosting several events aimed at curbing alcohol abuse including a forum on the subject of underage drinking and the screening of a documentary about road collisions in Bermuda.