The Messenger — Local news for Mount Airy_ Surry County_ NC

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                                      Study takes aim at alcohol use
                                      and accidents
                                      By Geni Dowd




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The Messenger — Local news for Mount Airy, Surry County, NC                 file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/Messe...



                             geni@surrymessenger.com


                             November, after 5 p.m., is the most dangerous time to be out on Surry’s roads.
                             That’s one finding of a study of alcohol-related accidents that will be released
                             Thursday.
                             Five months of research went into the report aimed at reducing the number of
                             alcohol-related accidents in our area over the next four years.
                             The State Incentive Grant-Strategic Prevention Framework, a federally funded
                             project, produced the report identifying problem areas and suggesting ways to
                             address them . Funding will be $100,000 each year to accomplish the goal.
                             Surry qualified for the grants because of the percentage of alcohol-related crashes
                             over total crashes, the rate of alcohol-related crashes per 1,000 population and by
                             having over five alcohol related fatal crashes over the past five years.
                             According to Jamie Edwards, principal investigator for the SIG-SPF in Surry, the
                             group found a lot of interesting information through their surveys. They collected
                             information from Mount Airy, Surry County and Elkin schools. Information was
                             also collected from youth civic clubs, churches, parent-teacher organizations, law
                             enforcement agencies, on-premise alcohol sales locations and more. The results
                             are viewable online. They have analyzed those surveys and have prioritized the
                             lists of what affects alcohol consumption by minors and drinking and driving.
                             Based on a score system from the surveys, the Community Advisory Panel ranked
                             each of the factors. The top three were social availability, low perceived risks and
                             social norms.
                             The panel then considered the readiness and capacity of Surry County to address
                             each factor and determined which would be the most likely to change. It was
                             determined that low perceived risks would be the area that the group could have
                             the greatest impact on.
                             After considering the community resources available and its readiness for change,
                             the group decided upon low perceived risks to be the highest priority. According to
                             the draft report, low perceived risks “related to alcohol-involved automobile
                             crashes are more important than other possible factors and have a high probability
                             of being altered through evidence-based prevention efforts. This combination
                             requires a high priority consideration for future planning.”
                             The report went on to say that social availability and social norms “related to
                             alcohol-involved automobile crashes are more important that other possible
                             factors, but appear to be difficult to change. Thus these two intervening factors
                             should be considered, but retain a low priority for future planning.”
                             Edwards said that overall it is a three-phase project and they are finishing up the
                             first now.
                             “In the needs assessment process, we take the information collected and identify
                             the best practices that have been proven to help in other areas that will address our
                             top three categories,” he said. “Currently, the belief in punitive sanctions is low.
                             There’s a perception towards alcohol use that “If I drink, nothing bad will happen
                             to me.” There are a lot of folks who really don’t know the consequences of
                             providing to minor or the risk of getting caught drinking and driving.”
                             Once the report is released, the community advisory panel will begin to determine
                             what tactics will be most effective to change the low perceived risks in the
                             community.
                             “By July, we will implement the practices to hopefully reduce the alcohol-related




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The Messenger — Local news for Mount Airy, Surry County, NC                        file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/Messe...



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The Messenger — Local news for Mount Airy, Surry County, NC   file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Administrator/Desktop/Messe...




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