Forum to focus on consequences of underage drinking, drug use

The annual Trumbull High School ninth grade Underage Drinking Forum, sponsored by the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking (TPAUD) will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 7 p.m.

The eighth annual forum, titled “Choices Have Consequences” will be presented to all ninth grade students and their parents/guardians at Trumbull High School. The forum, which originated in Trumbull, is a model that several communities across the state have replicated. Innovative, comprehensive approaches to prevent underage drinking such as this forum are showing success in reducing experimentation with alcohol in Trumbull, according to town officials.

“Community education and outreach efforts by Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking (TPAUD) and the anonymous TipsLine, implemented by the Trumbull Police Department and funded and publicized by TPAUD, are helping to reduce opportunities for and community tolerance of underage drinking,” said Chief Thomas Kiely of the Trumbull Police.

More than 1,000 students and their parents attend the forum each year and learn about the physical, emotional, social, and legal consequences of underage drinking, as well as avoidance strategies that they can use. The forum also educates about Connecticut’s Social Host law, which was expanded in 2012 to significantly increase the penalties for adults who provide a place for teens to drink. This year, in response to attendee feedback, the forum will also highlight the risks and consequences of teens using marijuana and prescription drugs.

“We hope that the forum helps parents and teens understand that underage drinking is not just a ‘rite of passage,’ and the many reasons why the majority of Trumbull kids choose not to drink or do rugs,” said Melissa McGarry, TPAUD Coordinator for the Trumbull Public Schools. “The Forum is designed to start the conversation in families about how teens can make good choices,”

This year’s speakers will include Officer Tim Fedor of Trumbull Police; Attorneys Audrey Felsen and Thomas Tesoro, Dr. Gary Kaml, Trauma Physician at Yale School of Medicine; William Mecca of Trumbull High School Crisis Intervention Specialist and Melissa McGarry, TPAUD Coordinator. The forum will also include those sharing personal stories.