Prevention Team addresses underage drinking

TICONDEROGA-The Prevention Team, in partnership with the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, recently sponsored a training in Lake Placid to address false identification and using the cyber world to police under-age alcohol issues.

Kristy Sprague, Essex County district attorney, welcomed the participants from Essex, Clinton, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties and the St. Regis Mohawk Nation. The almost 30 attendees represented tribal police, county sheriff departments, local law enforcement, the state police, campus police from four colleges and a local community coalition.

"Underage drinking is a concern nationwide," said Doug Terbeek, executive director of the Ticonderoga-based Prevention Team. "Although some North Country rates have shown a decrease in recent surveys, in general binge drinking rates are higher than state averages. Under-age drinking is a causal factor in a host of serious problems, including homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, drowning, burns, violent and property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning, as well as the need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and are two and a half times more likely to become abusers of alcohol than those who begin drinking at age 21."

The morning workshop was "Dealing with False Identification." Inspecting government-issued identification is one major mechanism for insuring that buyers meet minimum age requirements. The instructor was R. J. Elrick. He is a 29-year veteran of law enforcement in Vermont having served as the director of the Vermont Police Academy, an elected sheriff in Rutland County and a municipal police officer. Participants were instructed in recognizing and validating legitimate forms identification and current trends in the production of fraudulent identification.

The afternoon workshop was "Policing the Cyber World for Under-age Alcohol Issues." Key points covered in the training included the fundamentals of the internet, how social networking websites function, how to access these websites for the purpose of gathering information related to underage alcohol problems and what can be done with the information gleaned from the searches. The presenter, Jared Olson, is Idaho's first traffic safety resource prosecutor (TSRP) employed by the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association. Olson has a criminal justice master's degree from the University of Cincinnati and his juris doctorate from the University of Idaho.

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