Law enforcement working together throughout the County to accomplish the same goal, and that’s to reduce the number of underage drinkers and individuals killed or injured in motor vehicle crashes. Law enforcement from all over the County were present at a press conference to discuss the results of the Federal demonstration project to limit youth access to alcohol.
“During the project period, the post data did show that the number of young people surveyed who reported driving after drinking did decrease,” says Michelle Plourde Chasse, Project Manager of Community Voices.
In order to decrease the number of underage drinkers who drive, Chasse says they had to decrease the number of young people who drink alcohol, make alcohol more difficult to obtain, and increase the likelihood for adults who provide alcohol to be apprehended and prosecuted.
“Since 2009, underage drinking has decreased here in the County. It changed from almost 35 percent, and the 2013 data shows that it went down to 26 percent of highschool students who report drinking in the past 30 days. So there’s certainly in terms of teen alcohol consumption, there’s been positive change,” says Chasse.
“I think the report shows that we did a good job. We followed a format. The collaboration between all the departments was extraordinary . We sent the same message throughout the county,” says Caribou Chief of Police, Michael Gahagan.
District Attorney Todd Collins, is also involved in the project. He says he is the last step in the process.
“Our job was to sort of be that last piece that got that case into court, and to make sure that the people who were providing alcohol to minors were being held accountable, that the individuals that were possessing alcohol illegally were also being held accountable,” says Collins.
This project has had a positive outcome in helping to decrease the number of underage drinkers. One of Chasse’s concerns though, is the furnishing of the alcohol, and why parents continue to provide alcohol to their underage children. She is hoping to dig deeper into that issue.