Santa Fe County Announces Contracts to Reduce Underage Drinking
Santa Fe, NM- January 11, 2013— The Santa Fe County DWI Program is pleased to announce that contracts totaling more than $90,000 for early intervention of alcohol and drug abuse have been signed with the Santa Fe Public Schools, Peter D. and Company, and Envision Your Future. The selected contractors will serve more than 4,500 students in Santa Fe County public schools from Edgewood to Pojoaque and college students at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. An additional 7,200 students will have peer to peer contact and gain substance abuse and life skills training and education through work done as a result of these contracts.
Awarded funds were based on a Request For Proposal (RFP) released by the Santa Fe County DWI Program to provide evidence based, promising and innovative prevention programs for students. An independent review panel scrutinized proposals for $91,384 in contracts to work with youth ranging in age from 4th grade to college freshman.
These programs will deliver Santa Fe county youth with substance abuse, violence prevention, building wellness and media literacy curriculum. Kids will also be shown how to make healthy decisions for their future including to make healthy choices in friends and to complete their education. Students will receive training and learn the tricks and techniques advertisers use to normalize and habitualize them to alcohol use and abuse and how to change their own expectancies related to alcohol use.
The Santa Fe County DWI Program is able to provide these promising prevention programs using funds from the Local DWI (LDWI) Grant collected from the State of New Mexico Liquor Excise Tax.
"It's so important to reach kids before they start making choices about alcohol use,” said Lupe Sanchez, Santa Fe County DWI Program Coordinator. “As they grow these programs will give our youth the tools they need to make safe and healthy choices for themselves. They are designed to reach kids throughout their development into adulthood.”
Evidence shows that the earlier one drinks, the greater the chance of alcohol-use problems later in life. Underage drinking is linked to an increased risk of alcohol-related injuries and suicides, risky sexual behavior, physical fights, tobacco use, illegal drug use, and other damaging behavior. Brain and development damage from drinking alcohol before age 20 can be long term and irreversible.
Recently released data from the New Mexico Department of Health Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey shows that more public school students in Santa Fe County are engaging in risky behavior, more often than the rest of the state; 41.3% of high school students (9-12 grades) in Santa Fe County reported being “Current Drinkers” compared to 36.9% for the rest of the state. Drinking and driving and drinking alcohol before age 13 are all higher in Santa Fe County, in comparison to the rest of the state. The survey also reports that 41.1% middle school students in Santa Fe have “Ever Drank Alcohol” compared to 29.5% statewide. Other statistics from the survey include “Binge Drinking” 8.5% in Santa Fe County compared to 6.3% and “Drank Alcohol Before Age 11” 21.5% in Santa Fe County and 14.5% for the rest of New Mexico.