Waimea nonprofit Five Mountains Hawaii has kicked off a new campaign aimed not only at youth, but also parents and caregivers, as part of a federally funded effort to slash underage drinking on Hawaii Island.
The 501(c)(3) was recently awarded a $100,000 Hawaii County contract to implement a public awareness and coalition-building campaign to prevent underage alcohol consumption on the Big Island. Funding for the contract is derived from a federal grant administered by the state and county.
According to the 2010 revision of the Hawaii County Epidemiological Profile for Substance Abuse, which is a requirement of the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, 49.8 percent of 12th graders and 6.2 percent of sixth graders reported consuming alcohol in the past month.
“We want to raise awareness about the challenges we are facing in the community with underage drinking,” said Five Mountains Hawaii Executive Director Robin Mullin. “If people know more, we can do more to protect and support our youth.”
A variety of tactics will be used, including websites, social media, workshops and print, online and broadcast advertising, according to the nonprofit. T-shirts, information resource centers and community meetings and screenings of the documentary film, “Perils and Pearls in Paradise” are also part of the three-month campaign.
The campaign’s two websites, modelsnotbottles.org, which is aimed at adults, and beakamainotry.org, which is aimed at youth, are live.
The campaign is part of the second and final phase of the Hawaii Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant funded by the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. Awarded in 2006, the funding, about $2 million annually over five years, is administered by the state Department of Health’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division to each of the four counties, according to a 2010 progress report.
For both of the grant’s phases, first identifying issues and secondly implementing programs to address the issues, Hawaii County received about $2.4 million, according to the report. Of that money, 85 percent is directed toward implementing programs, such as Five Mountain Hawaii’s media campaign.
Hawaii County Grant Management and Compliance Coordinator Clarysse Nunokawa, who is handling the SPF-SIG program, said while the five-year grant program was slated to end in 2011, the state and county were given a one-year extension to implement programs.
The federal grant’s goal is to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance abuse, including underage drinking; reduce substance abuse related problems; and build prevention capacity and infrastructure at the state and county levels.
Hawaii Island’s goal, identified in the grant-related Hawaii County Epidemiological Profile for Substance Abuse, is to reduce and prevent alcohol consumption among youth between the ages of 12 and 17 years old.
That goal was identified after the profile found that while protective factors are present, the island is impacted by gender, grade and ethnic differences in alcohol use; higher usage rates of alcohol by youth in the county compared to the state; and easy access to alcohol through various means, including parents, family, friends and people in the community.
“The research shows there’s really acceptance around drinking, so now we’re trying to change those social norms and behaviors,” Nunokawa said.“We hope to build strong youth that make good decisions in their lives.”