Underage drinking campaign facing an uphill battle

Friday, December 27, 2013

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will get $7.5 million from the federal government to try to get underage kids to stop drinking.

It will be targeted at 11 Nebraska counties that are considered higher-risk areas -- Adams, Boyd, Dawes, Dawson, Douglas, Hall, Lancaster, Madison, Platte, Scotts Bluff and Thurston counties.

They were picked based on data from surveys, hotlines, treatment admissions and community assessment information.

The release didn't indicate exactly how the grant would be used, but such efforts usually involve "public education" or PR campaigns, counseling and enforcement.

Nebraskans in their late teens and early 20s are the most likely age group to drive after drinking and to die or suffer injuries in an alcohol-related crash.

And, that doesn't cover other dangerous behaviors associated with intoxication.

We wish the DHHS all success in its efforts to persuade teens and 20s not to drink and drive, but they're up against some pretty stiff competition.

What red-blooded young person isn't attracted to the party-down lifestyle depicted in beer commercials and popular culture?

Consider some of the lyrics to a Katy Perry song from a couple of years ago, heard daily on the radio:

There's a stranger in my bed
There's a pounding in my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a minibar
DJ's passed out in the yard
Barbies on the barbecue
Is this a hickey or a bruise?

Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trios

Not exactly a commercial for making responsible choices, is it?

It will take more than a $7.5 million federal grant to counteract the mixed messages today's youths are receiving.

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