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Town hall for youth drinking issues set for March 10 in Colby

The Healthy Clark County Coalition will be hosting a town hall meeting on the topic of underage drinking at Colby Community Library on March 10, from 6-8 p.m. The public is highly encouraged to attend this event.

Underage drinking, that is, the illegal consumption of alcohol by individuals who are younger than 21, is still a big issue across Wisconsin and in Clark County.

The state of Wisconsin has recognized alcohol and other drug use as one of its 12 priority areas in the statewide Community Health Improvement Plan. According to the Wisconsin State Health Assessment and Health Improvement Plan (2017), “Wisconsin continues to rank among the worst in the nation for both heavy drinking and binge drinking among adults. Approximately one in four (24.3 percent) Wisconsin adults engaged in binge drinking in the previous month, compared to the national median of 18.3 percent.” In Clark County, 24 percent of adults report excessive drinking, which has increased from past years (21 percent in 2017 and 22 percent in 2016).

In addition, the excessive and inappropriate consumption of alcohol by Wisconsin youth is a major health concern as well. In the spring of 2019, 740 Clark County middle school students and 774 Clark County high school students participated in the county-wide Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). From this survey, 27 percent of Clark County high school students reported having at least one drink of alcohol in the past 30 days and 14 percent reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. Additionally, 19 percent of Clark County middle school students reported having at least one drink of alcohol within the past 30 days.

The purpose of the upcoming town hall meeting will be to have a facilitated conversation between community members, law enforcement, and school districts. How can we all work better together to address the issue of underage drinking? Anyone is welcome to attend. Organizations that have agreed to have a presence at this meeting include Abbotsford School District, Ascension Our Lady of Victory Hospital, Clark County Health Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Colby-Abby Police Department, Colby School District, and Marshfield Clinic Health System. Childcare, a meal, and Spanish interpreting services will be provided.

This event was made possible by funding through Northwoods Coalition. To RSVP, contact Rebecca Greisen, Health Educator, at the Clark County Health Department Rebecca.Greisen@co.clark. or 715-743-5110. In case of inclement weather on March 10, a backup date of March 11 from 6-8 p.m. at the Colby Community Library has been reserved.