Underage Drinking Prevention
Drinking Prevention Task Force Meeting: Thursday, December 8, 2016
LOCATION CHANGE: 3001 Lake Austin Blvd., 4th Floor
New Video: FOCUS! Series
The mission of the Travis County Underage Drinking Prevention task force is to create a community consensus that underage drinking is illegal, unhealthy, and unacceptable. The task force is comprised of social service, law enforcement, and other agencies and individuals, including TxDOT, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Travis County Sheriff's Office, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission(TABC,APD, area school districts, local colleges and universities, and health care providers. Meetings are held on a regular basis.
The UDPP works to:
- Identify the link between underage drinking with more highly visible social issues in addition to drinking and driving such as truancy, binge drinking, unplanned/unwanted sexual encounters, teen pregnancy, fetal alcohol syndrome, HIV exposure, gang/juvenile crime, poor academic performance and alcohol poisoning
- Develop public education programs serving teens and "tweens" for Travis County schools and other youth venues
- Increase community awareness of the Zero Tolerance Law and deter the social availability of alcohol obtained through family, friends, parties and strangers.
- Presentations for tweens (elementary & middle school age children)
- Presentations for teens (high school age)
Adolescents under the influence of alcohol are apt to act impulsively. With their inhibitions loosened, they take risks they ordinarily wouldn't consider; binge drinking themselves into comas, swimming across lakes in the middle of the night or seducing a stranger. All too often, the result is tragic. If they cause drunk driving crashes, others may also be killed. While gains have been made, in alcohol-related statistics regarding youth under the legal age, drivers under age 21 continue to be over-represented in crashes. Alcohol was a factor in 46% of all Austin traffic fatalities in 2008.
Alcohol continues to be the most widely used substance among Texas students with 71% reporting they had used alcohol at some point in their lives. Average age of first use is 13. One in four seniors said they had driven a car after having a good bit to drink at least once during the past year, according to the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statewide 2000 School Survey. Locally, the 2005-2007 Austin Independent School District's Substance Use Safety Survey reports eighth graders cite more frequent alcohol use than their statewide peers (24% and 23% respectively). In 2008, the TABC issued close to 776 citations in Travis County for zero tolerance law violations, including Minor in Possession and misrepresentation of age. The Boston University School of Public Health reports that every 0.02 increase in blood alcohol levels in minors doubles their risk of being injured in a drunken driving accident. Alcohol-related driving crashes, violence, and suicide are the three greatest causes of death among American youth, and Texas leads the nation in the number of youth fatalities in alcohol related crashes (NHTSA). The UDPP expects to make a significant contribution in saving the lives of teenagers by discouraging underage drinking consumption.
Travis County Underage Drinking Prevention Program (UDPP) receives federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through a grant administered by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The National Commission Against Drunk Driving, the National Association of Governors' Highway Safety Representatives and the National Safety Council have recognized the UDPP with awards for its education and prevention program. The UDPP has also received the Eanes ISD Safe Homes Safe Heroes Award.