Attorney General Terry Goddard is attacking underage drinking this week at Arizona’s first statewide meeting to address the problem.
Today, Goddard will open the second day of the conference, “Partnerships to Prevent Underage Drinking Through Policy, Education & Enforcement” at the Wyndham Phoenix Hotel.
The conference brings together law enforcement, community coalitions, educators, therapists, youths and others who are interested in curbing underage drinking.
According to the 2006 Arizona Youth Survey, 62 percent of Arizona adolescents reported using alcohol, a higher percentage than those reporting tobacco or illicit drug use.
“Alcohol use by youth under 21 is extremely dangerous and associated with traffic fatalities, violence, unsafe sex, suicide, educational failure and other behaviors that diminish the prospects of future success,” Goddard said. “This problem demands our attention and best efforts to solve.”
“This is similar to the meth conference we had a few years ago,” said Andrea Esquer, press secretary for the Attorney General’s Office. “It’s very unique to bring together people from all different disciplines. When you get those coalitions together you do get new ideas.”
Sessions will look at specific drinking issues, such as underage drinking on the U.S.-Mexico border and substance abuse in tribal communities.
Goddard will also moderate a panel discussion about alcohol marketing and youth.
Participants include Maine Attorney General G. Steven Rowe, co-chairman for the National Association of Attorneys General Youth Access to Alcohol Committee, and David Jernigan, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Washington’s Georgetown University.