Underage drinking has declined in Georgia, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA has released a video on the many ways the state of Georgia has successfully fought underage drinking. “I’m happy to say that Georgia has the lowest reported binge drinking rates of all the states and I firmly believe that this is the result of a concerted effort,” said Brenda J.D. Rowe, Ph.D., Director of Substance Abuse Prevention & Behavioral Development for Georgia’s Department of Human Resources. The Cobb County Alcohol Taskforce is one of the groups on the frontlines. Coordinator Cathy Fink also sees great progress.
The Cobb County Alcohol Taskforce has a unique approach to curbing the number of young people who drink illegally – crack down on adults. “It’s about rattling adults out of complacency and rubbing the sleep out of politician’s eyes to get them to wake up to the problem of underage and youth binge drinking that affects thousands of youth everyday,” says Youth Council Manager, Afiya King. Unlike many organizations that tend to exclusively focus on discouraging youth from drinking alcohol, this one, formed in March of 2000 to address underage drinking conditions in Cobb, targets the actions or inaction of adults. “We’re not about changing kids, we’re focused on the adults,” explains Taskforce Communications Manager Alisa Bennett-Hart. “Adults enable kids to have access to alcohol knowingly or unknowingly; through commission or through omission.