Underage drinking is directly related to a variety of problems such as health, academic and social problems, motor-vehicle crashes, violence (e.g. assaults, rapes), dependence, poisoning, risky sexual activity, and death. According to the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA) 2012, 30.2% of students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade have had beer, wine, or hard liquor to drink in the past 30 days prior to the survey, and 19.7% reported that they had rode in a vehicle driven by someone under the influence of alcohol. Oklahoma Department of Transportation (2011) also reported that there were 25 alcohol stops on Oklahoma County interstates attributed to drivers ages 16-20.
Metro OKC Coalition have chosen to address underage drinking and work in the community to prevent and/or reduce underage access to alcohol in both the retail and social setting. Based on needs assessment and date, available resources, and researching strategies addressing underage drinking, the coalition decided to adopt and implement two (2) underage drinking prevention strategies: 1) Social Host Awareness Campaign and 2) Alcohol Compliance Checks. These strategies have generated both short- and long-term positive outcomes. The Social Host Awareness Campaign has been successful at utilizing multiple media sources (e.g. TV, radio, newspaper, etc.) and local events (e.g. Neighborhood associations, clubs, schools, etc.) for wide-spread promotion and advertising which has led to increasing knowledge about Social Host and raising awareness about underage drinking laws and issues. We also partnered with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office (OCSO) and implemented “party patrols and alcohol compliance checks.” OCSO conducted eight (8) separate party patrol events throughout the prom and graduation season (April-June). They responded to six (6) different party patrol calls. Four (4) out of the six (6) were parties that had youth under-21 years of age present. OKSO gave over 24 “minors in possession” citations, 2 “contributing to a minor” citations,” and dispersed all of the parties. Alcohol Compliance Checks (ACC) became a stand-alone/separate strategy for Fiscal Year 15however we have found baseline data for Fiscal Year 14 shows that for the 132 ACCs that were conducted, 108 establishments passed (i.e. did not sell alcohol to minors).
It is through the evaluation efforts by Metro OKC Coalition that these strategies have been deem appropriate and effective for sustaining outcomes in our community. It is important for us to continue bringing key stakeholders together addressing the issue of underage drinking. It is crucial that these strategies and efforts are sustained through community support and/or funding in order to maintain positive outcomes. It is through the attached sustainability plan that we intend to provide an outline and specific information on how we plan to continue these efforts.