ROOSEVELT – Getting trashed.
It’s slang for getting drunk.
But it has taken on a new meaning in Duchesne and Uintah counties, where a popular ad campaign to end underage drinking has hit the streets.
K&K Sanitation, which provides garbage services for most people living in the two counties, has wrapped seven of its trucks with messages provided by ParentsEmpowered.org.
“We thought if this would help anybody, or one youth, that it would be well worth it,” said K&K Sanitation President Elvin Kettle.
The family-owned business agreed to put the ads on its trucks for free. The cost of producing the banners, however, was paid for through grant money set aside by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, a partner in the ParentsEmpowered.org program.
“I was competing with other areas of the state for this funding, and if it wouldn’t have been for the quick response of K&K Sanitation, our area may not be receiving some of this (money),” said Robin Hatch, the Northeastern Region prevention specialist.
The grant for the garbage truck ads came through just as a previous grant expired. That grant allowed Hatch to put ParentsEmpowered.org ads in all of the movie theaters in Duchesne and Uintah counties.
With the new grant, K&K is the first waste company in eastern Utah to carry the ParentsEmpowered.org ad campaign on its trucks. Similar ads first appeared in December 2009 on garbage trucks in Salt Lake County. The program has since expanded to communities in five other Utah counties, most of them on the Wasatch Front.
The campaign is based on research that shows that teens whose parents are more involved in their lives are more likely to think that getting wasted is a waste. Hatch said the program is showing results in the area she covers â€” an area that regularly has a higher percentage of teens who report using alcohol.
“Our last set of data show that we’ve made a significant reduction in underage drinking,” she said.
In 2007, 11.9 percent of all students surveyed in the Northeastern District said they had used alcohol within the past 30 days, according to the statewide Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) survey. That number rose to 13.7 percent in 2009, the first year Hatch began to aggressively push the ParentsEmpowered.org message in the community.
Results released for 2011 show that 9.1 percent of students reported alcohol use. That number was still above the state average of 8.6 percent.
Hatch acknowledged that there is still work to do. She hopes the ads on the garbage trucks will help.
“These trucks will be in a lot of our neighborhoods on a regular basis,” Hatch said. “Every week, parents will be reminded that they play a significant part in preventing underage drinking.”