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State steps up effort to curb underage drinking

MEDIA RELEASE

More than $8.3 million to be distributed to Hawai‘i counties

HONOLULU – Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. today announced that the State will provide more than $8.3 million to the four counties to reduce and prevent underage drinking in Hawai‘i.

Through a 2006 federal grant, the state committed $10.45 million over five years to address the public health concern of underage drinking. The program calls for developing a comprehensive strategic prevention plan, expanding the Hawai‘i Epidemiological Profile for Substance Abuse Prevention and distributing funds to each of the four county Mayor’s offices to coordinate activities at the community level.

“We’re using the best available data to build capacity and structure at the community level where we can address the greatest needs to curb underage drinking,” said Lt. Governor Aiona. “Underage drinking is a public health concern that requires active community involvement and evidence-based prevention programs. We have aggressively pursued this funding to enhance our prevention efforts.”

Sixty percent of Hawai‘i high school students have consumed alcohol, and 15 percent binge drink, according to a 2007 statewide survey. Hawai‘i ranks fourth in the nation for alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths, according to a 2008 study.

According to a funding formula reviewed and approved by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the counties will receive funding to curb underage drinking as follows:

  • Hawai‘i County – $2,103,140.28
  • Honolulu – $2,310,502.58
  • Kaua‘i – $1,237,824.95
  • Maui – $1,464,732.20

In 2006, the Lingle-Aiona Administration, under the direction of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, secured funding from SAMHSA through the Strategic Prevention Framework – State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG). A project manager and project specialist were brought on to direct the overall project and coordinate the project at the community level. A workgroup was formed to update substance abuse prevention data, and a state advisory council convened. In 2008, community advisory councils were formed in each of the four island counties.

Lt. Governor Aiona is a former member of the national advisory council for SAMHSA.

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