The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.
Gov. Mark Dayton visited a youth group working to prevent underage drinking at their booth at the Governor’s Fishing Opener festival in Park Rapids May 9-12. The We Decide group from Nevis, Minn., was there to spread the message to youth in the community that underage drinking is not the norm.
The group is one of three “We Decide” groups funded by a grant awarded to St. Joseph’s Hospital by the Department of Human Services’ Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division in 2011 to prevent underage alcohol use. At the festival, it handed out t-shirts and sunglasses promoting Positive Community Norms with messages such as “MOST Park Rapids students DON’T drink in a typical month,” and “When hanging out with friends, MOST Park Rapids students would rather NOT drink alcohol.”
The ADAD grant, which covers all of Hubbard County, includes a community coalition working to reduce youth alcohol consumption through environmental strategies such as alcohol compliance checks and responsible beverage server training, and by working directly with youth county-wide.
Grants were awarded to 10 such communities in 2011 with a focus to reduce youth alcohol use. In the previous grant cycle 2006-2011, the nine communities awarded the same grant saw a 30 percent reduction in past 30-day alcohol use by youth based on Minnesota Student Survey responses. This was significantly greater than the 20 percent statewide reduction in youth past 30-day use during the same time period.