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Small changes to prevent underage drinking

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Beth Wheelock Tallon
July 3, 2013

This entry is written by Sarah Johnson, project coordinator of Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change. She can be contacted at janesvillemobilizing4change@gmail.com.


Are you an easy source of alcohol for youth? Would you know if a few beers went missing from your garage or basement refrigerator? Could you tell if a few shots of liquor disappeared from one of your bottles?

All too often, sometimes without even realizing it, we provide access to alcohol for our children. Youth tell us during listening sessions and through surveys that alcohol is ‘pretty easy’ to get from friends and family members. With 30% of high school students drinking alcohol in the last 30 days, we have to believe that it isn’t very hard for teens to get their hands on alcohol.

During the month of July, Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change (JM4C) is working to bring awareness to the issue of easy access of alcohol in the home. It is the hope of the coalition that adults will be more aware of the environment they provide in their own homes and make small changes that will prevent youth from obtaining alcohol. These small changes can include taking stock of your alcohol inventory and periodically check for missing items or installing a lock on your garage or basement refrigerator. Not only will this lock prevent your own children from taking alcohol, but it will also prevent you from being a victim of ‘garaging’. ‘Garaging’ is a slang term referring to the act of stealing alcohol out of open garages.

JM4C will be awarding refrigerator locks to several lucky winners in July! You can enter this drawing by emailing janesvillemobilizing4change@gmail.com, visiting our booth at the Janesville Farmers’ Market on July 13th and 20th, or checking out our refrigerator display in the lobby of the Hedberg Public Library.

Reducing availability to alcohol will help prevent youth from drinking, but it is not the only piece of the puzzle. As a community we need to send a clear message that underage drinking is not going to be allowed or tolerated. Be a part of making Janesville a healthier, safer community and do not allow access to alcohol (intentionally or unintentionally) to youth in your home!



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