According to the latest Gallup poll, 58% of Americans favor legalization of marijuana, a record high. The only group opposing recreational use of marijuana are people 65 and older, and even their support has increased. It should come as no surprise that the group with the highest level of support is younger generations. Legalization of adult recreational use of marijuana is on the California ballot in 2016.
As scary as [the prospect of the] legalization of marijuana is [to many people], according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2013 86.8% of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime. It’s legal, and I’m old enough to remember when you could drink legally at 18 before Ronald Reagan linked federal transportation funds to a national 21 years old policy. It’s culturally acceptable. And it’s available in nearly every home.
Alcohol kills. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports 88,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use. MADD reports teen alcohol use kills 4,700 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
Alcohol hurts. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 51 minutes. And 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, according to the According NIAAA. The Tennessee FBI says alcohol is the No. 1 date rape drug.
What’s a community to do? We have to work hard to prevent underage alcohol use! It’s not cool to host parties at your house or to teach your child how to drink. NIAAA says approximately 17% of men and 8% of women will be dependent on alcohol in their lifetime. You want your kid among those ranks?
Come to our Red Ribbon Week presentation tonight at Toll Middle School. You’ll hear from Officer Joe Allen, a local favorite, Didi Hirsch, GUSD, and kids currently getting treatment at Phoenix House. Interactive booths for students! Free for everyone, parents and kids!