On June 9, the Sacramento County Coalition for Youth, comprised of youth leaders and adults, unveiled a countywide Action Plan to address underage drinking in Sacramento County. The event, hosted by the Sierra Health Foundation, also officially kicked off the work the coalition will do to prevent youth alcohol use.
According to the most recent California Healthy Kids Survey by WestEd, 27% of 7th graders and 43% of 9th graders report that they tried alcohol before age 15. In addition, 13% of 9th graders and 18% of 11th graders report that they have engaged in binge drinking.
The Alcohol and Drug Prevention Strategic Plan (July 1, 2014–June 30, 2021), developed by the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), identified youth alcohol use as the highest priority for prevention services based on student self-reporting. It directed the creation of a countywide coalition to address underage alcohol use and to address the goals of the strategic plan.
The County HHS Division of Behavioral Health Services, Alcohol and Drug Services subsequently contracted with the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) to lead the effort to address the problem, convening the Coalition for Youth and creating/implementing the Action Plan.
"We believe—and the evidence concurs—that the strategies and activities the coalition is implementing will lead to positive outcomes," said David W. Gordon, Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools.
The Sacramento County Coalition for Youth began meeting in October 2015. Its plan is designed to create community change around underage drinking and address areas such as social norms, media messages, laws, policies, and youth access to alcohol. Its plan consists of strategies and activities selected to address the problems of Sacramento County youth drinking too early, too much, and too often. The plan recognizes that environmental prevention approaches have the highest potential to produce population-level change.