The "Our Darien" campaign was designed and released by The Community Fund of Darien in partnership with the Thriving Youth Task Force. This public health initiative is designed to point a laser focus on the hard science of how detrimental teen alcohol abuse really is, and to offer proven tactics towards healthier attitudes and behaviors.
Since its release, the "Our Darien" campaign has been recognized for its innovative approach to substance use prevention at local, state and national conferences, including the National Prevention Conference, Anaheim, CA in 2017.
The Town of Darien is above par on many indicators of success. When it comes to parenting, we excel at providing our children with every opportunity to nurture their potential. We feed them organic whole foods, we limit sugar intake, sign them up for tutoring, encourage stimulating extracurriculars, and make sure they get enough sleep at night.
However, there is one area where many of us are unwittingly stunting our kids' health and brain development. We allow them to drink alcohol, or turn a "blind eye" to their partying. We allow them to drink under the assumption that it is just a little, relatively harmless "social" drinking or that they need to learn how to handle alcohol before they go to college. The reality is that for most teens, any and all drinking is binge drinking. Connecticut's latest student survey data indicates that 30% of 9-12th graders had consumed alcohol in the past 30 days. Darien's 9-12th graders? 45%.
Why aren't we as diligent about alcohol use as we are about their academics, eating and sleeping habits?
Alcohol is a neurotoxin. Early alcohol introduction causes profound damage to the teen brain. The legal consequences of serving minors or failing to stop teen alcohol use are significant. Let's start with some facts.