Big Bear Lake, CA — Big Bear’s Breakthrough Task Force, in partnership with the Rim Youth Prevention Leadership Coalition, has celebrated their first year of proactive substance abuse prevention, specifically in efforts to keep alcohol access from teens in our mountain communities. Among these efforts is the establishment of a WeTip hotline specific to Big Bear; like the national WeTip hotline, which allows for callers to place anonymous tips to law enforcement, the local line at 866-0174 can be used to report incidents to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Our local Sheriff’s stations–in both Big Bear and, now, Twin Peaks–are overseen by Captain Greg Garland who, with his team of deputies, have partnered with the Breakthrough Task Force to curb teen drinking. In light of this month, April, being Alcohol Awareness Month, the coalitions are furthering their goal to implement a Social Host Ordinance; this ordinance was drafted by local law enforcement and prevention experts and is currently being reviewed by legal counsel for San Bernardino County before being presented to the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors for approval and implementation. During the coalitions’ one-year anniversary gathering at the Discovery Center at the end of March, the urgency of the issue was made apparent. Teens were among the 40some people who participated in the project meeting, and noted 17-year-old Tyler Moudy from Lake Arrowhead, “Kids in our area get alcohol mostly from adults at house parties.” Underage access to alcohol would be mitigated by the Social Host Ordinance, which would enable law enforcement to enact penalties for those who provide a place for youth to drink. As coalition member Richard Eloe points out, “The Social Host Ordinance is essential, especially when you hear the statistic that kids who start drinking before age 15 have a 40% chance of having alcohol-related problems later in life, and kids who wait until age 21 have a 10% chance of developing these problems. I find that startling! I really think that this is a problem we haven’t understood in the past.” If you would like to find out more about the impacts of underage drinking, or wish to contribute to the efforts of the Breakthrough Task Force during this, Alcohol Awareness Month, contact Bonnie Shaffer at the Breakthrough Task Force of Big Bear Recovery Services at 878-0101. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to take advantage of our new WeTip hotline when needed at 866-0174; though a local extension of the national hotline (at 800-78-CRIME), calls do remain anonymous.
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