HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With recent survey results showing alarming rates of underage and high-risk drinking among youth and young adults nationwide, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and its agency partners today renewed their commitment to combat the prevalence of this dangerous and potentially deadly behavior.
"No substance is more widely abused in America by those under the age of 21 than alcohol," said PLCB Chairman Patrick J. "PJ" Stapleton. "This survey's findings should serve as a reminder to parents and the entire community that no one is immune to the dangers of alcohol misuse and abuse."
With preventing sales to minors as its top priority, PLCB store employees in 2010 checked the identification of nearly one million minors at its more than 600 stores statewide.
"We feel confident that our policy to check the identification of any consumer who appears under the age of 30 has helped to prevent any number of tragedies from occurring in the community," Stapleton said. "We are also concerned about the problem of second-party purchases and will continue working with our partners in the law enforcement community to combat this practice."
Required under Act 85 of 2006, the 2011 report presents updated information on levels and trends of underage consumption, prevention programs supported by agency partners and science-based, proven prevention strategies.
"The information collected for this report is critical in understanding the breadth and depth of the problems of underage and high-risk drinking," said Jerry W. Waters, Director of Regulatory Affairs for the PLCB. "By working with our partners at the Pennsylvania State Police, the Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Department of Health, PennDOT, and the Department of Education, we are able to gain valuable insight that directly affects our work in combating this ongoing problem."
Using data collected through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's Pennsylvania Youth Survey and the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, the 2011 study reports:
- Pennsylvania youth aged 12-17 have a lower rate of alcohol dependence and abuse than the national average;
- Slightly more than one third of those youth believe there is a "great risk"
in using alcohol.
- Nearly 90 percent of Pennsylvania college students report having used alcohol in their lifetime, compared to 86 percent nationwide;
- 65 percent of Pennsylvania college students reported having their first drink by the age of 17;
- Slightly more than half of Pennsylvania college students believe the social atmosphere of their campus promotes alcohol use.
"Through our collective work, Pennsylvania has made great strides in educating our youth and their families about the dangers of alcohol misuse and abuse but these survey results indicate how much work there is yet to be done," said Stapleton. "We must all remain vigilant, on behalf of our youth and young adults, in breaking the cycle of underage drinking and the negative consequences it creates."
Media contact: Stacey Witalec or Stacy Kriedeman, 717-783-8864
SOURCE Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board