The following is a press release from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury:
Project KNØW Underage Drinking will hold a town hall meeting on Tuesday, May 11, to address the dangerous problem of underage drinking in Calcasieu Parish. The meeting will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Police Jury Meeting Room in the Calcasieu Parish Government Building, 1015 Pithon Street, Lake Charles (corner of Gill and Pithon Streets). The town hall meeting will include a panel composed of law enforcement officials, a medical professional and community members who have been touched by the damaging and/or deadly effects of underage drinking.
"Underage drinking is a serious issue in Calcasieu Parish," said Mary Kaye Allemond of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury's Office of Juvenile Justice Services, project director of Project KNØW. "Many of our youth are engaging in dangerous behaviors such as binge drinking. Not only do they not realize the legalities of these actions, but they are also endangering their health and safety."
Project KNØW Underage Drinking, a program of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, was designed to create awareness of the dangers of underage drinking through enforcement and education.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office and all other law enforcement agencies in the parish are heightening enforcement by increasing the number of DUI checkpoints; compliance checks with bars and businesses that distribute alcohol, and "party patrols." The "party patrols" have already shut down a number of underage drinking parties throughout the parish.
The Office of Juvenile Justice Services, a department of the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, is approaching community education by speaking directly to students in parish schools; sponsoring community events and launching an extensive media campaign.
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury created Project KNØW after receiving a Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, provides SPF SIGs to states in order to create needed programs to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance abuse in underage drinkers, and to build a link among preventive underage drinking programs in communities across each state. The grant was given to the Louisiana Governor's Office, Drug Policy Board and the Office of Addictive Disorders, which distributed it to 10 parishes, including Calcasieu Parish.