On December 17th RAD members, supporters and volunteers hosted a press conference at Pasadena City Hall to release "Alcohol and Your City: San Gabriel Valley" - a RAD Report.
Designed to be an easy-to-read document to inform residents, City staff and elected officials about local alcohol use, its impacts, and evidence-based safeguards available to communities, the first-of-its-kind report was the product of a collaborative effort by the regional prevention coalition, which was founded by six partnering agencies: Day One, Pasadena Public Health Department, Jewish Family Service, Pacific Clinics, NCADD, and Prototypes.
On hand to participate in the official release event were a number of powerful local experts, including Pasadena Public Health Director Eric Walsh, MD, MPH, who underlined the new documents ability to provide communities with clear, concise information regarding the impact of alcohol at the City level, and steps that can be taken to mitigate the issue.
Former State Assemblymember and La Canada Flintridge Mayor Anthony Portantino touched on his efforts to reduce the impact of alcohol in the community. The author AB 1999 - '911 Immunity' legislation modeled on similar policies in Colorado and New Jersey - which was adopted into law in 2010, Mr. Portantino underlined the fact that 16% of LA County residents binge drink, a staggering number. His legislation protects minors who seek emergency medical attention due to alcohol poisoning by granting immunity from criminal prosecution. The immunity is limited to the victim and the one or two underage peers if they act in good faith, call 911, and stay at the scene until the authorities arrive. Experience in other states shows that this approach does not encourage underage drinking, but helps ensure that a teen gets the medical help he or she may need.
Perhaps the most moving and powerful speaker, however, was 24 year Nick Nevarez, a 22 year old full-time college student who works part time as a salesman at the mall and spends lots of his time exercising. After being diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic as a teenager and becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol, Nick survived a car crash that nearly ended his life. The serious collision left him with a 45% prosthetic skull, a reminder that drives him to use his story to inspire youth to lead more positive, healthier lives. Over the past few years Nick has spoken to thousands of people over the last four years on the subject of drinking and driving and substance abuse, while enjoying his second chance at life to the fullest.
Many thanks to all whose hard work, input and feedback made the development of RAD's first official report and press conference a success.
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Photos courtesy of Rosaline Zaw of Open Concept Events and Wes Reutimann.
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