Posted by Michael Maholchic on Mar 11, 2019
On March 6, 2019 Deborah Milbauer of the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MSAPC) spoke to the club and several members of the community on, 'What the big deal about underage drinking? Why it's not harmless and what we can do about it". 
 
Rates of underage drinking in Milton are higher than the state average, and Ms Milbauer said it takes a change in the culture to address it. "It is time to rethink the drinks".
 
In December, 2018 MSAPC launched the'Parent Campaign' to reduce underage drinking and give busy parents the information, resources and skills they need to tackle this problem head on. Results of a 2015-2016 survey of parents and students in 9th to 12th grades in Milton showed 50% of Milton High School students drank in the last 30 days, 40% higher than the state average. 35% binge drink, nearly twice as high as the state average.  Almost 20% of parents surveyed said they knew someone in their immediate family is in recovery from a drug or alcohol addition.
 
Yet nearly 20% of parents surveyed said occasional student drinking is okay as long as there is parental supervision and no driving involved.
 
"Underage drinking is NOT'no big deal'" said Milbauer, "because research tells us that 90% of substance use disorders begin before age 18, and that the earlier teens drink, the more likely they will develop alcohol problems as adults.  The takeaway message is: "Delay First Use!'"
 
The Parent Campaign is seeking to get Milton parents to take a "Parent Pledge to Rethink the Drinks".  She invited them to visit the website www.rethinkthedrinks.com.  There will soon be a video released, and more community presentations are planned.
 
Deborah Milbauer, MPH, MSW, has worked in the field of Public Health Social Work for over 25 years. She holds a dual-degree Masters in Public Health and Masters of Social Work from Boston University, teaches Public Health part-time at Northeastern University and is a consultant for the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Her behavioral health and prevention programming and policy experience includes substance use disorders, harm reduction, opioid overdose prevention, homelessness, HIV and reproductive health. Deborah currently runs a private Public Health consulting practice in the Boston area. Deborah lives in Milton with her husband and 2 daughters, who attend Pierce Middle School and Milton High School.