Have you ever been to a major event on a hot day and found bottles of water being sold for $5, $8 or even $10 dollars? Unfortunately this scenario plays out far too often at public events across southern California, with significant impacts to public health and safety.
The City of Pasadena is in the midst of adding another major public event to the region with concert promoter AEG/Goldenvoice. While event details have yet to be determined, the proposed “Rose Bowl Music and Arts Festival” would take place annually every June and accommodate about 95,000 music fans a day for two to three days. The proposal is driven by the high cost of the stadium renovation, as well as the economic benefits major events bring to local hotels and other service sector businesses. Yet such a major event also presents unique public health and safety challenges to the surrounding neighborhoods, community and region.
A basic law of economics states that when products become more expensive, people tend to purchase less of them. This basic principle holds true for water, alcohol and other beverages. In other words, if you are a community and want to incentivize safer, healthier behavior among event attendees, bottled water should always be the cheapest item on concession stand menus, followed by other non-alcoholic beverages, and then beer, wine, and if sold, distilled spirits. Tap water should also be made available free of charge via the use of temporary water stations and/or permanent water fountains.
Why? The risks associated with binge drinking at large events are many, and include increased rates of impaired driving, motor vehicle crashes, accidents, and physical and sexual violence. In the worst case scenarios such alcohol misuse can lead to permanent injury or death, as in the tragic beating of Giants fan Bryan Stowe at Dodgers stadium in 2011. Every year alcohol use kills about 2,500 people in Los Angeles County, making alcohol the number two cause of preventable death in the region.
Young people are particularly sensitive to price and research shows that even modest price increases can significantly reduce the rates of heavy drinking and impaired driving crashes involving youth.[i] Existing research also underlines that alcohol price policies are among the most effective strategies available for reducing risky alcohol consumption and related harm and costs.
As City of Pasadena and stadium staff move forward with formal study of a “family-friendly” festival at the Rose Bowl stadium, officials would be wise to closely examine and mitigate the impacts of alcohol use, as well as improve the accessibility, convenience, and promotion of transportation alternatives as the Hollywood Bowl has successfully done over the years. It may seem inconsequential, but free tap water, $2 bottled waters, $10 beers and comfortable event shuttles make large events safer and healthier for the entire community
[i] 25Laixuthai, A. & Chaloupka, F. (1993). Youth alcohol use and public policy. Contemporary Policy Issues, 11:70-81.
Alcohol is the 2nd leading cause of premature death and disability in LA County. Misuse and abuse of alcohol, over-the-counter medications, and illicit drugs affect the health and well-being of San Gabriel Valley residents.
Prevention Art Real Talk (PART) Project was created by the RAD coalition to raise awareness about alcohol-and-other-drug-related harms in the San Gabriel Valley.
For this project, RAD we are calling for artists to design creative prevention art and messaging.
The goal of the PART Project is to raise awareness through the placement of creative prevention messaging in public spaces.
Submit your design, and Be a PART of Change!
For some inspiration, check out the following links and facts on how alcohol and drugs negatively impact the health of communities:
Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms in Los Angeles County: A Cities and Communities Health Report
Los Angeles County Public Health and Binge Drinking
National Institute on Drug Abuse: National Trends and Statistics
Centers for Disease Control Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health Factsheets
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
The Sobering Reality:
RAD has partnered with Vroman's Bookstore for a special in-store event to help raise awareness about teen alcohol culture and help prevent alcohol-related incidents among teens in the San Gabriel Valley.
The special in-store event will feature a discussion with experts on the current trends in teen alcohol use, book titles on AOD, and multimedia art created through RAD's Prevention Art Real Talk (PART) Project. Attendees will participate in a discussion with experts about the social pressures to drink that teens experience from social media, popular culture, and their peers. An expert panel including professionals in the alcohol and drug abuse prevention field, authors, medical experts, and youth speakers will address topics and questions such as What are the community and health risks of underage drinking? What factors motivate teens to use alcohol and other drugs? What can parents, families and communities do? The discussion will empower parents with insight into the everyday lives of their teens, and actions they can take to prevent potential substance abuse problems. Parents join us with their teens and be a part of the conversation to prevent alcohol and substance abuse among youth in our community!
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1630802220540122/
RAD updates from across the SGV.