U. Dublin Drug Panel Calls For Programs

Posted: October 08, 1989

Taking the stance that any degree of substance abuse is unacceptable, the Upper Dublin Select Joint Committee on Teenage Alcohol Abuse has outlined a series of recommendations to combat the growing problem.

The committee presented the results of its summer-long study of teen substance abuse in Upper Dublin to the township commissioners and school board Thursday night. About 30 members of the public attended.

"There is a serious and growing problem, and it is not only teen alcohol abuse, but substance abuse," said Leonard Ross, chairman of the committee. ''Upper Dublin has had very few incidents compared to other areas, but we are not immune."

The 14-member committee was formed in May jointly by the commissioners and the school board. The committee includes representatives of such groups as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the school district's PTA, the township police department and Upper Dublin High School's student council.

Discussing a summary of the report, Ross said the prime causes of teenage substance abuse were peer pressure and a lack of parental control.

Responsibility for solutions, he said, falls on parents, schools, local government and the community.

The report recommended the expansion of substance-abuse education programs in the schools, increasing the distribution of drug and alcohol abuse literature to the community, and developing a variety of recreation alternatives for teenagers who might be tempted to indulge because of boredom.

Ross added that the community must support township police in their efforts to enforce laws against underage drinking.

Committee member Jolee Rosenau, 17, a high school senior, said punishment was the most-effective deterrent to teenage students.

"Kids my age aren't just going to stop," Rosenau said. "Unfortunately, I think it's the law enforcement that will have to do it."

Early substance-abuse education programs will deter younger children, she said.

The committee will now design programs to address substance-abuse problems among Upper Dublin students, Ross said.

On Thursday night, the commissioners and the school board agreed to extend the life of the committee through Dec. 31, 1991.

Ross said the group would seek to expand its membership and determine the priorities of the various advocacy groups involved in the committee.

Its next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17, at the Sandy Run administration building.

The school board and township will share the job of finding money to pay for the programs the committee develops.

School board President Eugene L. Meyers said funding for programs suggested by the committee would likely be evaluated case-by-case by the school board.

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