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ML LWV Event: The Sober Truth About Underage Drinking Panel

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Underage drinking is the leading drug problem in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth ages 12 through 20 drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States.  More than 90 percent of their alcohol is consumed by binge drinking, and surprisingly, girls binge drink more than boys.

On Tuesday, May 9 The League of Women Voters Mountain Lakes invites parents, educators, health care workers and other members of the community to The Sober Truth About Underage Drinking.  The panel’s goal is to raise awareness of the concerns in Mountain Lakes and Boonton Township and discuss prevention strategies to help keep local teens sober and safe.  The event will be held at the Mountain Lakes Public Library, 7 Elm Road with a reception beginning at 7:00PM followed by the panel at 7:30PM.

The evening features five guest speakers addressing a spectrum of issues. Sgt. Gil Benitez of the Mountain Lakes Police Department will discuss what’s really happening in our communities.  Barbara Kauffman, MS CPS, Director of Morris County Prevention is Key will share strategies for parents to prevent their teens from underage drinking and propose healthy alternatives. Addiction specialist, Paul Lavella Jr.  LPC, LCADC, ACS of Summit Behavioral Health will explain the neurological and developmental impact of underage drinking, how it influences future addiction and options for teens who have an alcohol problem. NJ criminal defense attorney Robert Dunn, Esq. will address the legal consequences for teens caught drinking and parents who host underage parties. The panel will be moderated by Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor Gretchen Fry, MSW, LCSW, LCADC.

“There are so many myths and perspectives regarding underage drinking, it’s important for parents to hear what’s really happening and understand what the consequences can be,” shares Ivette Desai, organizer of the event. “For example, we hear some parents want their teens to be exposed to alcohol in high school and learn their limits before going to college. Parents also reflect that they drank as teens, and it didn’t hurt them. Will this program change their minds? I think they will find the facts are powerful and persuasive.”

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.  In Mountain Lakes, the group’s focus is hyper-local, tackling significant issues impacting the community. Previous programs have included gun violence prevention, opiod use, preventing teen sexual assault, the proposed development of King of Kings, low income housing, and lake water safety. Prior to elections, the LWVML also hosted the borough council and board of education candidates debates.

The Mountain Lakes league welcomes all citizens who care about Mountain Lakes to join us for the free programs, become a member and get as involved as you want. Membership helps support the League’s programs, but volunteering isn’t necessary.    

Attendees for the May 9th presentation are requested to RSVP at: lwvmtnlakes.membership@gmail.com