The Ela Coalition Against Youth Substance Abuse, in coordination with Lake Zurich Community Unit District 95 and the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center, held an informational community forum focusing on the impact of underage drinking at Lake Zurich High School on April 18.
The panel of speakers included Lake Zurich Police Chief Steven Husk, Barbara Belke, District 95 Student Assistance Program Coordinator Barbara Belke and Lake Zurich High School College Guidance Counselor Carl Krause.
Belke said seven out of 10 Lake Zurich High School students indicated in a student survey that they choose to be alcohol free.
Binge drinking statistics (5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion over two weeks):
- 32 percent of LZHS seniors engaged in binge drinking in 2016
- 29 percent of District 95 students engaged
- 24 percent of Lake County students engaged
Chief Husak spoke about social host laws, which makes it illegal to provide an environment where underage drinking takes place. Thirty-two of 52 Lake County communities have a social host ordinance.
The villages of Lake Zurich and Hawthorn Woods passed social host ordinances in 2009, while Barrington and Lake County passed their ordinances in 2010. The State of Illinois passed a social host ordinance in 2013.
Lake Zurich had one social host arrest in 2012 and two juvenile DUI arrests this year.
The Ela Coalition Against Youth Substance Abuse offers the following tips for parents:
- Look for indicators of alcohol use such as slurred speech, alcohol odor, poor judgement an stumbling. Check for these by hugging your teens, getting close enough to smell alcohol and taking a few minutes to talk to them. If your teen has used too much alcohol, seek immediate help.
- Parents/guardians should set clear expectations and consequences regarding alcohol use. If you find your teens have been drinking, it is important to talk about it when they are not under the influence and for you to follow through with the set consequences.
- Be alert for the possible signs of alcohol use. Watch for problems like dropping grades, withdrawing from usual activities, missing money, and/or forming a new set of questionable friends.
- If you suspect your teen of using alcohol or any other substance, contact Ela Township Social Worker Susan Fackler at (847) 540-8380 or the School District 95 Student Assistance Program Coordinator Barbara Belke at (847) 540-4211 for confidential assistance.
The Ela Coalition Against Youth Substance Abuse was originally conceived in 2010 in response to an increased concern about underage alcohol and drug use in the community. The mission of the coalition is to reduce youth substance use and abuse by facilitating community-based education, intervention and prevention initiatives. The vision of the coalition is to work together to pursue a healthier and safer community.
The Ela Coalition is funded in part by the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration.
The coalition meets every third Monday of the month at 10 a.m. at the Ela Township Office, located at 1155 E. Route 22, in Lake Zurich. Visit www.elacoalition.com or call (847) 540-8380 for more information.