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Underage Drinking ‘A Problem’ in Carroll County

A study shows 80 percent of students have driven with someone who was drinking before they got behind the wheel.

Drinking at parties, riding in a car with drunk drivers, and believing it’s impossible to get addicted to alcohol are all things students admitted during a recent survey by the Maryland Strategic Prevention Framework.

These are relevant issues in Carroll County, according to Maryland Strategic Prevention Framework Coordinator Carol Mullen, who says that a recent grant awarded by the federal government to the Carroll County Health Department and non-profit partner the Carroll County Community Media Center will go toward curbing underage drinking locally. 

“Underage drinking, binge drinking and alcohol related crashes are a problem in this county and the grant funds used are to prevent the onset of these behaviors in our youth,” said Mullen, who is heading an awareness campaign on the issue in addition to forming the Carroll County Coalition Against Underage Drinking. 

In a recent study by the Maryland Strategic Prevention Framework, 80 percent of high school students admitted to having ridden with someone who was drinking before they got behind the wheel of a car, and 83 percent of students surveyed do not believe they can become addicted to alcohol. 

Additionally, 54 percent of Maryland college students surveyed said they drink seven or more drinks on a typical occasion.

In an unofficial Patch poll on the issue, 66 percent of voters said that underage drinking is a problem in Eldersburg.

The goals of the Carroll County grant program headed by Mullen include preventing the onset and reducing the progress of underage drinking, building prevention strategies at the community level, and partnering with an established non-profit organization, the Community Media Center, to increase awareness within the community.

The grant was awarded for five years at $70,000 per year. 

“The Carroll County Coalition Against Underage Drinking is in its infancy, but it is growing,” Mullen said. “Its members are from different sectors of the county as well as parents and ultimately, youth.”

The coalition currently has around 50 members and will have its own website in the coming months.

Former trauma nurse Debbie Yohn, who has seen firsthand the dangers of underage drinking, said she believes the coalition will help local students better understand what is at risk. 

“As a former trauma nurse I have been at the bedside of way too many teens and young adults who died as a result of drinking and driving,” said Yohn, who co-founded the Carroll County-based organization Positive Alternatives to Dangerous and Destructive Decisions (PADDD) in 1996.

The organization was started, according to Yohn, as a way of working with the courts to educate at risk drivers with DWI's and speeding charges. The program put on by the organization is a three-hour class that follows a crash with stories of local crashes in the community. 

“My mission in life now is to create change through educating our communities.”

Yohn said the organization does presentations for parents at local schools about prom night safety to cut down on underage drinking and fatalities.  

“This is a huge problem because drinking is seen by many as a right of passage. This has to change and the change has to start with the parents,” Yohn said.

PADDD is working towards having a pre-prom assembly or an injury prevention seminar for parents at every school in Carroll County. 

“We have a great team of professionals here in Carroll and I hope through the coalition we can pull our resources together to save lives.”

anonomous March 15, 2012 at 01:58 PM
you did this to your young people ok you took everything close by for kids to do you developed it to where they must drive to and only movies an to shop really to a new location you took out all the kid things to do the inside mall the fun quarters the arcade and movies all close of walking distance then you think that your area is rich enough to give kids money to go just to shop or buy stuff and gas and cars for that an they arent affluent to do this so they are bored ok you created this monster you let a developer ruin the nice thing about that area was that you could walk to stuff and all in one area bike or walk ok oh didnt you also ditch a bike trail idea as well what do you think you going to do make money you ruined your area and let that developer ruin the kids chances to have biking and walking easy to go to community an why dont you use that mall for a community center a pool recreation for teens kids familys or keep on going then destroy the area you did good job so far , and i hope you dont lose lives over it now, blame that slum mall developer very sad an also i resent this one cause one of my kids would not move back to our house there area said nothing left to do there i cannot beleive that the community does not see what they did to such a nice area , to thier kids and families there . you did this to these kids ok you did
anonomous March 15, 2012 at 02:05 PM
oh and to add also dont lie carol county got millions of dollars i checked ok for things like this not to treat drunk kids ok medical for things for them to do ok they got money last year where it go to find that out too if you care so much or go ahead build medical treatment places for doctors or couselors to teach them how to be rich when they are not in a recession and about advancement development an why they cant have thier small nice community and walk around have fun things to do an have to be bored and be strong about it force thier parents to go broke to go shopping they cant afford take away fun kids stuff teen stuff carol county got a load of money where they spend it , find that out too be smart certainly not on family orientated community things thats for sure now you want money for what , cops and medical forget it , give them back their community turn that mall in eldersburg into something nice for them again and carol county spend money on family things they wont drink if you do that if they not bored ok or well you neglected them you neglected the teens an the kids set them up for this. where they spend all that money they got in 2011
Kia April 18, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I'm a Carroll County Teenager and the reason there is partying is because Carroll County has nothing to do for us The only option we have is to go to the mall and hang or see a movie Or run the streets all night. There is nothing to do for teenagers Carrol County could open a teen club and make a money off of that because of how many teenagers Want Something desperately to do. I know the feeling . Thats why we throw parties and there happens to be drinks at these parties and unless Carrol County becomes more interesting Its gonna stay that way. We are bored every weekend theres no Skating ring, places to chill and the only places we can go on Fridays and Saturdays is the mall or to a party . Which one do you think we are gonna choose? So Theres your answer to why we party
Brad Smith April 18, 2012 at 07:42 PM
This is a terrible excuse for an attempt to reject personal responsibility. Teenage drinking is not going to end if teen clubs were opened up? Really?? After a short while, that would become boring and there would be another crutch of a reason added to the long list about how "Carroll County doesn't have this" as to why someone would drink. Teenage drinking occurs because of peer pressure, the desire to fit in and social awkwardness, of which alcohol helps alleviate. Get a hobby or find something you are passionate about, you won't be bored.
Brad Smith April 18, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Will all due respect, you need to concentrate on your studies
anonomous April 22, 2012 at 06:34 PM
to kia not mr know it all know nothing forgot what its like to be young ok what happen to the place that wierd ugly mug redo place they had planned to use for a teen band open call or some sort of coffee aka music for teens to be open this big write up on that place dont tell me they also cancelled that like that bike trail too god , see everything natural outgoing or country town athletic type of music fun hang out they have cancelled who runs your area god, do your parents care at all how about the river shops and a skate park there instead or ideas you teens come up with form a committee . we moved back and then decided not to stay due to what they did to the community ruined it, sykesville area oh i find it grose that they didnt have the lights decorated any more eldersburg yet i read how carol county got so much money that one year i kept track of it what do they do with thier money find that out too , certainly dont help the kids oh i heard they putting in a gym there though thats good but need many more things to do for teens there kids too alot more stuff and i understand one thing lead to another but if you keep busy day time by time night comes you be tired and see its catch twenty two nothing to do day time either no bike trails its hard to get in parks piney run doesnt sponsor stuff for teens either they do nothing there we fish or people do but upgrade it for teens day time ideas too be great way so you end up movie and all malll be optional cause you are tired
anonomous April 22, 2012 at 06:45 PM
added see if your parents can get together form a under twenty one club co op or you form it have parents that help go like that h2 o club in oc but not that big or such but you never know there enough kids and also they ruined westminister too all comercialized and horrible used to be country so they take out dutch market put in commercial stuff yet they expect what you teens kids to be buying stuff see thats dumb and the fact you said mall what choice ok yet if they had kept up that local mall in sykesville with better security and upgrades where you can walk to or bike to see that be great instead they moved movie s new strip mall so you have to go spend money on gas drive there right ok invitation for more trouble its like the area is setting thier teens up for trouble i feel not sure where you live but in the run down now mall nothing when my older kids were teens you could go there we drove but nicer mall then later my youngest it was empty and run down all gone even fun quarters for the poor younger parents they took out see its all about making money i guess the cops make money off tickets court arresting the kids too right i just think you teens have to stand up do something an your parents help i coulnt do it me alone with my youngest we had other problems but why dont you an your families help each other
anonomous April 22, 2012 at 06:51 PM
ok i reread kia comment why a teen ok honest one i saw that you ask for a skating rink see thats a true carol co kid make me want to cry so they can spend seventy thousand dollars on prevention they got the kids all set up now to fail the money to use to say so an for whatever it is crap but no skating rink your kids want a skating rink out of that seventy thousand ok make the them put it in as a preventative tool get a smart lawyer to build a dam skating rink for your kids an more things to do i reread stuff i just think they are creating a monster they are going to regret . god fools
anonomous April 22, 2012 at 06:54 PM
last comment for me i got to remind myself of that story i heard of where two judges and a contractor and a mortgage guy got arrested for building a jail juvenille facility for kids where they set the kids up got pay offs to send them there humm doesnt this one sound familiar that seventy thousand dollars so who is in charge of this money then what is a prevention progrqam god are we serious then . sounds more like that group got arrested did this same type of thing used the kids as scapegoats and they made money off of it sorry but thats true about that group i hope not so about carol co but they dont see helpful

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