Report to highlight underage drinking |

Report to highlight underage drinking

Bridget Manley

— A local grassroots organization is taking another step in its three-pronged approach to knock out underage drinking in Moffat County.

The Moffat County Youth Wellness Initiative authorized Misty Schulze, OMNI Research and Training regional prevention consultant, to create a presentation outlining the causes, risk factors and effects of youth alcohol abuse.

The presentation was created to help change social standards that turn a blind eye toward underage drinking.

“It’s basically a way for us to change social norms,” said Diane Miller, Northwest Colorado Community Health Project coordinator.

The Initiative, which operates under the Heath Project, maintains two other goals: Reducing youths’ access to alcohol and educating parents, Miller said.

The Initiative organized the presentation with Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, a substance abuse prevention program in Moffat, Routt and Grand counties.

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Schulze was the muscle behind the two organization’s intentions. She compiled a 21-slide presentation entitled “Improving the Larger Environment for Our Young People.”

The report covers topics from alcohol’s effects on the teenage brain to underage drinking rates in Moffat County compared to state and national rates.

Underage drinking is more than a social ill for Schulze.

It’s an everyday reality.

Through OMNI, a Denver-based research firm, Schulze works on the Regional Prevention Services project, “a regionally-based prevention training and technical assistance system funded by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of the State of Colorado,” according to OMNI.

Regional Prevention Services offers various services to local alcohol and drug abuse prevention groups, including resource referral, OMNI reported.

Schulze sought approval from the initiative at its monthly meeting Tuesday night.

She expected the group to provide insight on the local community’s response to the presentation, she said.

But, if the initiative has its way, Moffat County residents won’t be the only people privy to underage drinking rates in Northwest Colorado.

Schulze is scheduled to deliver the report to civic groups, faith-based organizations and parent focus groups in Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco and Grand counties, she said.

She’s scheduled to start delivering the presentation this spring, after she’s received the initiative’s approval and other groups have had a chance to weigh in on the report.

Community members affected by underage drinking, including liquor sales license holders and their employees, are welcome to give their input on the report before it goes out, she said.

The document is available at her office, 439 Breeze St.

Her intent: To provide a “united front” against underage drinking – a problem she said the community must confront as a whole.