Students Launched Year Long Fridge Campaign

by Dover Police Charities

Today we are holding this demonstration in downtown Dover to raise awareness of how young children are getting alcohol. We believe that alcohol is too easily accessible by youth and we want to raise awareness among parents so they will take steps to prevent their kids from being tempted to try it or sneak it from the home.

Underage drinking continues to be a very serious problem. According to the Dover Coalition for Youth, New Hampshire has some of the highest rates of underage drinking in the country. New Hampshire ranks the 3rd highest (for youth ages 12-17 years old) for consumption of alcohol in the past month according to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Locally, in surveys of Dover High School students, 37% of students report using alcohol in the past 30 days. This drinking often starts very young. Nearly 15% of Dover students report having had at least one drink of alcohol before the age of 13 according to the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.

Based on Dover surveys of almost 1,600 students, the most common source of alcohol for a kid’s first few drinking experiences is right from their home or the home of a friend. Young kids have much fewer ways of getting alcohol. So it makes sense that the alcohol in the home would be a common source.

By raising awareness of the risk of kids taking alcohol from their parents, we hope that parents will remove, lock up, or at least more closely monitor the alcohol in their home.

We are concerned about underage drinking because there are many consequences that can be overlooked when kids use alcohol. Examples are: date rape, falls and accidents, alcohol poisoning, and addiction.

Teen drinking is very different from adult drinking. Teens’ brains are still developing into their early twenties. A powerful chemical like alcohol has a much more significant impact on a developing organ like the brain. Underage alcohol use can affect memory and school performance.

In addition, research shows that the younger kids start drinking, the more likely they are to have a drinking problem later in life. We are trying to raise parents’ awareness that even a good kid can make a dumb decision.

We are using these life-size cardboard refrigerators as well as informational posters, fliers to pedestrians, and chants at today’s presentation to make our point. This demonstration kicks off a year-long campaign to make the community more aware of how kids obtain alcohol, and to reduce underage drinking in general.

In addition to today’s demonstration, we will be taking a variety of other actions to get this message out. We will be conducting presentations to parents during the school year, creating radio ads for local radio stations, hosting SHARK in the Park tomorrow, and playing a new video Youth to Youth created on YouTube and on local cable channels.

Yesterday afternoon Dover Youth to Youth members went to several stores in Dover to attach adhesive stickers on alcohol products. Youth to Youth had permission from the stores and an adult was present at each location. The message on the sticker carries this same advice to parents: alcohol in the home can tempt curious young children. We went to Shaw’s, Hannaford, and Koozies to place the stickers on alcohol products starting yesterday.

In closing, we want to encourage parents to closely monitor the alcohol in their home to make sure it out of the hands of children.

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