The Iron County Prevention Coalition is employing a new medium in an attempt to cut down on underage drinking in the county – buses and garbage trucks.
The Iron County School District, Cedar City and the City of Enoch recently partnered with the coalition to add anti-underage drinking messages to the sides of 10 school buses and two garbage trucks in Cedar City and Enoch.
The prevention group was awarded a $10,000 grant from ParentsEmpowered.org to promote awareness of underage drinking throughout the state.
Heidi Baxley, coordinator for the Iron County Prevention Coalition, explained that each grant recipient was challenged to find a unique way to display their message.
“The grant encourages communities to develop partnerships in order to help get the word out,” Baxley said. “Each community recipient did something different.”
The most recent results of the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey indicated that underage drinking is one of the top concerns for Iron County students.
The survey is given to select ICSD students and covers a range of questions involving drugs, alcohol and tobacco usage.
According to the survey, 6 percent of students have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days, matching the state average.
Despite the prevalence, ICSD Director of Education Jennifer Wood said the campaign is primarily preventative.
According to Wood, who worked with Baxley to coordinate the preventative efforts, the district only had one alcohol-related incident during the 2015-16 semester.
“In terms of kids coming to school under the influence or being caught at school with alcoholic beverages, that has not been a problem,” Wood said. “I think it’s more about prevention and public awareness.”
In addition to partnering with the school district, the prevention campaign will also be featured at local restaurants and businesses throughout the county, including Pizza Cart, Sizzler, Brad’s Food Hut and Lin’s Supermarket.
Each business will display a window cling that says “family and dinner is one of the key ingredients to prevent underage drinking.”
Baxley pointed to studies indicating how eating dinner as a family can prevent substance abuse and promote better grades in addition to reducing behavioral issues.
“Parents just don’t think about how important these conversations are,” Baxley said. “They don’t realize what a huge influence they have in their children’s lives.”
The campaign will run for one year. The Iron County Prevention Coalition is currently applying for an additional round of funding to continue the campaign.