[Wyoming] Why should we care about childhood drinking?

NANCY FREUDENTHAL – Perspective | Posted: Saturday, April 3, 2010 12:00 am
Wyoming Star-Tribune

April is National Alcohol Awareness Month and it is the month when many communities in Wyoming will be hosting town hall meetings focused on childhood drinking. This is very appropriate because nearly 29 percent of our children under 13 started to drink in Wyoming. Why should we care?

Childhood drinking is estimated to cost Wyoming $152.6 million annually, with the largest costs associated with youth violence and traffic crashes. This number doesn’t quantify the losses in education investment, and the potential for addiction problems into the future. Why should we care? A 25 percent reduction in teen drinking could save Wyoming $38.15 million per year. More people would be alive and in better health today with a reduction in childhood drinking.

In Wyoming, an estimated two homicides; 1,200 nonfatal violent crimes such as rape, robbery and assault; and 3,100 property crimes including burglary, larceny and car theft involve an underage-drinking perpetrator. Why should we care? A 25 percent reduction in these crimes from childhood drinking could mean you, your family, your neighborhood and your property are safer. [more]