Over 1,200 ninth grade students, their parents and guardians, and community members attended the Trumbull High School’s Underage Drinking & Drug Forum “Choices Have Consequences on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

The forum, which celebrated its 10th anniversary, was established for residents to learn about the physical, emotional, social, and legal consequences of underage drinking.

The program also educated 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 also highlighted the risks and consequences of teens using marijuana and prescription drugs.

In 2006, both the Underage Drinking Forum and the Trumbull Partnership Against Underage Drinking & Drugs (TPAUD) were created when it was identified that Trumbull teens were drinking alcohol at higher rates than their peers.

Innovative, comprehensive approaches to prevent underage drinking, such as this forum, have shown success in reducing experimentation with alcohol in Trumbull. This forum has also become a model for several communities across the state.

“Community education and outreach efforts by TPAUD and the anonymous TipsLine, implemented by the Trumbull Police Department and funded by TPAUD, are helping to reduce opportunities for and community tolerance of underage drinking,” said Vicki Tesoro, the founder and chairperson of the Forum.

“We hope that the Forum helped 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 drugs. The Forum is designed to start the conversation in families about how teens can make good choices,” said Melissa McGarry, TPAUD Project Director for the Trumbull Public Schools.

Anyone who would like more information on TPAUD or how to become involved with the organization, please contact Melissa McGarry, mcgarrym@trumbullps.org

The TispLine can be accessed by texting 274637 (CRIMES); include TRPD and the specific location of concern. Alternatively, Trumbull residents can download the TipSubmit app for iPhone and Android smart phones.