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Insight from WFPD: Providing alternate activities to curb underage drinking

North Dakota leads the nation in many categories of agricultural production and a variety of industrial applications. North Dakota also is ranked high in several surveys relating to quality of live standards. Unfortunately, North Dakota also ranks first in the nation in underage and binge drinking.

Alcohol continues to be the most abused drug in the nation and is the most widely used by youth. The North Dakota Department of Health and North Dakota Department of Transportation provide educational material and sponsor training programs in an attempt to reduce alcohol misuse and abuse. The Department of Transportation provides funding to law enforcement agencies to conduct enforcement actions directly targeting underage drinking.

Locally, the West Fargo Public Schools provides education on the negative affects of drug use to include alcohol. The programs are taught in multiple grade levels and are age appropriate. The programs deal with the physical affects of drugs and alcohol; abstaining from their use and dealing with peer pressure. The West Fargo Police Department partners with the schools to provide education opportunities through the School Resource Officers, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and Alive at Twenty-Five.

The hours following Prom and Graduation have historically been some of the most tragic across North Dakota due to trash crashes involving alcohol. Education alone has been noted as unsuccessful. It is also necessary to provide safe alternatives for youth to take part in. Organized events such as the Post Prom and Post Graduation Party offer youth an ability to gather and have fun in a supervised environment.

The Post Prom and Post Graduation Parties are hosted by parents and supported by local organizations and businesses. Participants are expected to follow strict rules relating to behavior to be able to participate. The Prom is Saturday, May 7, with the Post Prom Party being held at The Bowler from midnight to 3 a.m. Graduation is set for Sunday, June 5, with the Post Grad party being held at high school from 10:30 a.m. until 4 a.m. Volunteers are much appreciated and needed. Organizers continue to look for funding to pay venders or the donation of items to be given as door prizes.

Please consider volunteering or providing a donation. Anyone with questions or comments can call Jennifer Halda at 282-4028.