TULSA, OK – [June 30, 2016] – Local law enforcement agencies across Oklahoma will be working to keep Fourth of July celebrations safe for all by cracking-down on violations of state alcohol laws. The Tulsa Health Department’s Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) program is partnering with the Broken Arrow Police Department to enforce local social host laws and determine compliance with underage drinking laws by conducting alcohol compliance checks on Friday evening, in addition to other enforcement activities aimed at preventing needless death and injury associated with alcohol abuse. These heightened enforcement activities will be in place throughout the extended Fourth of July holiday period.
“For many Tulsa County residents, celebrating the Fourth of July includes fireworks, sparklers and backyard picnics. It is also a time when we see increased negative consequences resulting from alcohol abuse along with a spike in underage drinking,” said Marianne Long, RPC program manager.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), hospital emergency department visits across the country involving underage drinking average just over 500 people per day throughout the month of July; however, that number nearly doubles to just under 1,000 underage drinking emergency room visits during the Fourth of July holiday period.
Oklahoma is no different than the rest of the nation. Underage drinking and substance abuse is a significant concern for the community.
Oklahoma experiences many negative consequences associated with alcohol abuse including preventable deaths, injuries and cost to the community. In fact, approximately 1,350 Oklahomans die each year as a result of alcohol use. And, when Oklahomans, drink, they are among the worst in the country for the amount of alcohol consumed in one setting.
“Underage drinking is not a harmless rite of passage; there are far-reaching consequences,” said Long. “In addition to emergency department visits there is the long-term impact of injuries to both the drinker and others, property damage, arrests, risk to community safety, and death. These negative consequences are absolutely preventable, which is why we are working together as a community to ensure a safe holiday celebration for all.”
Regional Prevention Coordinators
Regional Prevention Coordinators is a grant funded program established to reduce the rates for underage drinking, adult binge drinking, and the non-medical use of painkillers within Tulsa County. The work of RPC is concentrated on population-level change in Tulsa County by assisting communities in determining the substance abuse problems affecting their constituents and the most effective strategies to address these problems. RPC works with local coalitions and stakeholders to gather data, track trends, and provide training and technical assistance within the community. Additionally, RPC provides support for town hall meetings and assists with local alcohol compliance operations. Support and community resources for the Stars, Stripes and Shields initiative are provided by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.
For more information regarding the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment or the Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) program at the Tulsa Health Department, please visit www.tulsa-health.org.