Binge Drinking. Marin County. Alcohol Poisoning.

The #1 teenage binge drinking area in the U.S. is tony Marin County, CA. This fact may be incredible to anyone not living in Marin, or repugnant to anyone in Marin who would much rather pretend alcoholism and teen substance abuse is not a problem in this north of San Francisco bedroom community.  But the facts and the statistics don’t lie–regardless of how much money you have.

Underage Drinking. Alcohol Facts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five or more drinks in a 2-hour period is considered binge drinking.  In 2012, the Marin County Civil Grand Jury released a Report stating that teen binge drinking had reached pandemic proportions and that it was a public health crisis.  According to a recent California Health Kids Survey, “the statewide average for binge drinking among high school juniors is 22%”.  Equally as disturbing, 34% of Marin 11th graders admitted to binge drinking in the 30 days prior to them responding to the survey question.
While there are many reasons for such startling statistics, one that is very real, yet difficult for many folks to face is that the teen role models are binge drinkers.  Marin County adults lead the state, and the country, in binge drinking. One out of four adults in Marin is a binge drinker, which is almost 50% higher than the national average.  This 2012 Report titled, the Marin Youth Alcohol Crisis clearly places most of the blame on the parents as the primary influence of kids.  While no parent wants to acknowledge that they are a bad and significant influence on the way their children behave, the evidence clearly speaks for itself.

Marin County. Substance Abuse.

For about 3 years, I sat on the Mill Valley chamber of commerce board of directors. Being a non-drinker, I was dumbfound to discover that drinking was the local pastime.  In fact, the most telling discovery that I made about Marin was how drinking was not only an important part of any event we put on, but serving alcohol was mandatory.  We were not allowed to plan any event without ensuring that the Napa and Sonoma wineries were in on it.  Plus, there is rarely a week that goes by that you don’t hear about some teen in Marin who was involved in a car accident.  The irony is because of the influence some people have, while you may hear about the story when it first hits, rarely do you hear about it again.  Money and power are often antidotes to a documented and sustained arrest.
What do you think about teen binge drinking or adult binge drinking in your community?
I am Attorney, Author, Speaker Francine Ward providing you with something to think about.  Join my conversation in my Esteemable Acts Facebook Fan Page, my Esteemable Acts Twitter Page, or in one of my LinkedIn Groups.

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