Underage Drinking: Problem In The Wiregrass?

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As a result of those statistics, Spectracare Health Systems in Dothan received a grant from the federal center for substance abuse prevention.

Officials hope the nearly half a million dollars goes a long way.

Five years.

That's how long officials with the Federal Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention studied underage drinking in Alabama.

"The state of Alabama has already done a needs assessment and identified underage drinking as a problem in 20 counties, 4 of them being in the Wiregrass, " says Kristin Johns, Prevention Specialist at Spectracare.

Dale, Henry, Houston and Geneva counties made the list.

Officials say there are several attributing factors.

"In the city it's easier to go to things like the movies and the malls and stuff but in the county it's not as easy to find those activities, especially if you don't have a way to get into the city or things like that so hanging out, partying, drinking, tends to be an easier fall back a lot of times for our more rural counties, " says Beth Ford, Program Manager at Prevention Project.

The community is taking steps to fight addiction before it starts.

"What we do is we bring them information that tells them not only what the substance is but what it does to them and long term consequences if they choose to experiment with some of these substances, " says Ford.

"We are gathering information from the community, through focus groups, through churches in the area, just any where we can to ask people's opinions on underage drinking and what they feel like needs to be done, " says Johns.

That data will help officials spread awareness through education.

"If we can get that education to them as young as possible and they hear it over and over again and know the dangers of it, hopefully less of them will choose to use, the older they get. It only takes that one time to have an accident and to have a consequence that they didn't foresee and they can't change, " says Ford.

Spectracare is asking for public input.

Visit surveymonkey,com/s/adult-community-survey-on-underage-drinking.Com

Parents who want more information about talking to their children about alcohol, can call the Prevention Project at 334 699 2813.

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