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Fallbrook youth work towards a safer community

FALLBROOK – Authorities have said they consider underage drinking to be a significant problem in the Fallbrook area. Since this issue has come to the forefront in recent news coverage, members of the Fallbrook community are paying more attention than ever before to this problem.

A group of students with the Fallbrook Youth Prevention Group decided to take action and help build a safer community for young people.

Earlier this month, the Fallbrook PTSA partnered with the Fallbrook Youth Prevention Group (FYPG), MADD, the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, the Fallbrook Healthcare District and the North Inland Community Prevention Program (NICPP) to host a free, educational event for parents at Fallbrook High School.

Youth from FYPG spoke about the dangers of underage drinking and Sheriff’s Lt. Phil Brust encouraged parents to sign a pledge agreeing not to allow underage drinking. Prevention specialist, Celeste Young, and Fallbrook High School principal Rod King, also encouraged parents to protect their children and the community by pledging not to serve alcohol to minors in their homes.

Through these meetings, students actively involved in FYPG are hoping to alert the community and parents about the deadly consequences of underage drinking.

“We don’t want to see any more of our friends or family members die because of underage drinking,” said Malorie Allen, a student in the FYPG.

San Diego County’s Social Host Ordinance, which went into effect in July 2003, gives law enforcement the ability to cite, fine and jail anyone who provides alcohol in their home to underage people.

“A lot of parents don’t even know about this law,” says Jessica Salas, another member of FYPG. “Parents need to know what the social host ordinance is and that it’s illegal to provide alcohol to minors in their home. Just knowing that there are consequences for doing this will make them think twice about allowing it.”

“These students are shining examples in this community,” said Stephanie Ackroyd, youth development specialist with FYPG. “It’s contagious when a group like this chooses to create a healthy way of life for themselves. These students are leading the way for others to follow.”

The FYPG will partner with MADD and NICPP to host a bilingual (English/Spanish) town hall event March 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fallbrook High School cafeteria, 2400 S. Stagecoach Lane. This event will include student skits and an educational panel of law enforcement, medical experts from Fallbrook Hospital, prevention specialists and a victim of a drunk driving crash.

“Underage drinking is 100% preventable,” said Salas. “It shouldn’t be happening in the first place. The town hall event is a follow-up to the parent pledge night. Instead of just focusing on the parents, it’s going to include information for the parents and the youths.”

For more information on this subject, contact MADD San Diego at (858) 564-0780, Shaun Keating with NICPP at (858) 395-3340 or Stephanie Ackroyd with the Fallbrook Youth Prevention Group at (951) 252-4192.


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