Ogle County Town Hall Meeting to Educate Community on Underage Drinking


Ogle County Town Hall Meeting to Educate Community on Underage Drinking

April 8, 2014. OREGON, IL.— Lutheran Social Services of Illinois’ (LSSI) - Project LEAD Ogle County will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on April 24, 2014, to help educate the community on preventing and reducing underage drinking. The meeting is open to the community, and will be held from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Oregon Park District, Nash Recreation Center, in the River Room, located at 304 South 5th Street in Oregon, IL. Ogle County law enforcement, Sinnissippi Centers, and Ogle County schools will participate in the event.

In 2010, the costs incurred nationwide by underage drinking was an estimated $62 billion. The costs just for the state of Illinois were $2.9 billion, for legal costs, medical bills, and other funds that went towards the aftermath of adolescent alcohol use. The cost to individuals and their families, in terms of injury, death, and other consequences of underage drinking is immeasurable. This event will educate community members about the consequences of underage drinking, empower communities to make environmental changes to prevent underage drinking, and mobilize communities regarding underage drinking prevention initiatives at local, state, and national levels.

“It’s important to bring the community together to discuss the problem of underage drinking, and work together to find solutions,” says Erin Clark, prevention specialist at LSSI’s Project LEAD Ogle County. “In addition, we want to educate the general public about the consequences of adolescent alcohol consumption.”

Project LEAD Ogle County is a community coalition working to gather all to the table to discuss issues related to substance abuse. Project LEAD is a coalition of concerned individuals with the mission to create a safer, healthier community by reducing substance abuse through empowering youth and families by partnering with the community and community resources.

In 2013, 41% percent of high school seniors in the U.S. drank alcohol during the month of December. In Illinois, this percentage was even higher, with 47% of seniors reporting alcohol use in the past 30 days. In addition, an alarming number of Ogle County 10th graders (40%) and 12th graders (60%) felt it was a “little bit wrong” or “not wrong at all” to drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, or smoke cigarettes. Even more alarming is that the same students felt their parents would agree with these attitudes.

Drinking alcohol is particularly dangerous for teenagers, because they are still learning how to make responsible decisions, and alcohol impairs their judgment. Teens that drink are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex and driving under the influence. Underage drinking is associated with an increased risk of negative outcomes, such as poor academic performance, violence, and sexual assault, as well as serious car crashes and fatalities.

For many years, LSSI has been helping adolescents and adults in north central Illinois affected by alcohol abuse or addiction to alcohol or drugs, through a continuum of care. This includes prevention, assessments, education, outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment, DUI evaluations, risk education, anger management and adolescent inpatient treatment, as well as continuing care services for those who have completed any phase of treatment.

“LSSI’s services give people hope, and are geared towards prevention, as well as help individuals who are struggling with a substance abuse or addiction issue, or a family member of such a person,” says Clark. “We want people to know help is out there.”

LSSI’s Project LEAD Ogle County is very excited and thankful for all the donations they received for this event. Ogle County Chapter of Thrivent Financial donated a $500.00 grant, which will be used to provide food for the event as well as door prizes. Felker’s in Byron donated pop and water for the event. Oregon Soap Shoppe made a donation of a door prize. The event also received a $500.00 stipend from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information about the Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting, or LSSI’s substance abuse services, contact Erin Clark at 815.284.7796, ext. 2315.

About Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Founded in 1867, Lutheran Social Services of Illinois is a statewide not-for-profit social service agency of the three Illinois synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). LSSI is committed to caring for all people in need, regardless of religion, age or national origin, helping them to make essential changes, leading to better lives and communities.


Barb Hailey