“While underage drinking has decreased in Lyme/Old Lyme among school age youth according to our data, it is still our Number One youth drug problem,” reports Karen Fischer, CASFY’s Prevention Coordinator. “All adults in our communities play a very significant role in preventing underage drinking. CASFY members chose our new campaign with the objective of reinforcing adults to do the right thing and protect all of our youth.”
Community members will see posters of hands with the message “To Get to Alcohol, Kids Have To Get Through Us.” Shoreline Sanitation trucks and road banners will display a message specifically for parents: “I Will Be a Parent [Not a Bartender.] The Majority of Parents Say “No” to Underage Drinking.”
Mary Seidner, Director of Lymes’ Youth Service Bureau, is optimistic about reducing underage drinking. “CASFY has been keeping a steady drumbeat of messages to youth and
adults about the risks of underage drinking and what can be done to prevent it. It is encouraging to me that more and more parents report that they are calling the parents of their teens’ friends to check on monitoring plans for parties and sleepovers.”
Julie O’Brien who a parent member of CASFY says, “I’m not hearing adults say that underage drinking is “just a rite of passage” nearly as much as in the past. And I think the majority of parents have gotten the message that allowing drinking at home and “taking away the keys” not only increases drinking but also puts parents in legal jeopardy.”
Martin Lane, Old Lyme police officer, emphasized that all youth and adults in the community should know underage drinking laws. “CASFY sent all parents of LOLHS students a summary of Connecticut’s underage drinking laws, including the penalties for youth who use and adults who either provide alcohol to underage youth or allow underage drinking on their property. We also sent a summary of marijuana laws. All high school students received the same information. Many were unaware of the jeopardy to their families if they made the wrong decision about drinking and drugs.” (Copies of laws are available at lysb.org.)
Glenn Bair, a parent member of CASFY, observed, “Parents seem to feel more empowered to discuss their family’s rule of “no underage drinking” with their own children, their children’s friends and their parents, too. We want more parents to have these conversations to sustain the gains we have made and further decrease alcohol use among our teens.”
“I can’t emphasize enough how the whole community has pulled together to work on keeping our youth safe,” emphasized Mrs. Fischer. “School personnel, selectmen, town librarians, police officers, firefighters, members of the business community, parents, youth—the cooperation and collaboration is outstanding.”
The Coalition would especially like to thank Old Lyme resident John Morrison and his company Connecticut Sign for many hours of work on this project and his generous in-kind donation that reduced the cost of the campaign. CASFY also deeply appreciates the
cooperation of Gary Yuknat of Shoreline Sanitation for donating the use of his trucks for the campaign graphics.
Local businesses and others wishing to participate in the campaign by displaying campaign images either on posters, flyers, websites or Facebook pages should contact Karen Fischer, 860-434-7208 or email email@example.com.
Funding for the media campaign is from a federal grant through the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Child and Family Agency of Southeastern Connecticut. It is licensed from Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council.
The Mission of the Community Action for Substance Free Youth (CASFY) is to prevent and reduce alcohol and other
drug use among youth by collaborating with the community to raise awareness, modify social norms, educate youth and adults, initiate policy change and promote healthy activities. We invite all youth and adults who live or work in Lyme or Old Lyme to join in our efforts. Contact us through lysb.org or call 860-434-7208.