The Executive Roundtable of St. Lucie County¹s Substance Abuse Coalition is partnering with St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara and MADD to increase youth awareness of the hazards of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
The partnership comes during December, which is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.
“I have provided ‘crashed cars’ involved in traffic accident at all seven of St. Lucie County¹s high schools,” Sheriff Mascara said. “I want to do my part to demonstrate this community¹s commitment to reducing drunk and drugged driving. The Substance Abuse Coalition is providing an important service, and I¹m glad to be a part of the community awareness effort.”
Core Communities, Inc. and Home Depot of St. Lucie West donated materials and supplies for the signs, and students made the signs to be displayed alongside the crashed cars.
Statistics from the National Center for Statistics and Analysis show there were 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005 39 percent of the total traffic fatalities for the year. These fatalities represent an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes. One-third of those killed (nearly 5,700 people) were between the ages of 16 and 20.
According to the 2004 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, in St. Lucie County alcohol is the drug used by the largest number of teens. Of the students surveyed, over 56 percent have used alcohol on at least one occasion in their lifetime.
What is more disturbing are the findings on binge drinking, defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row within the last two weeks, with over 17 percent of surveyed students reporting binge drinking. Overall, 32 percent of surveyed students reported the use of alcohol in the past 30 days. Research indicates that binge drinking puts a person at much higher risk of death or injuries from motor vehicle crashes, falls, drowning and other hazards of poor judgment and reduced coordination. Violence, vandalism, sexual assault, unprotected sexual encounters with the risk of unplanned pregnancy or infection from sexually transmitted diseases all increase.
Additional information is available on the work of the Executive Roundtable of St. Lucie County’s Substance Abuse coalition by calling Christine Epps at (772) 871-5880.