PRYOR, OK —
Pryor is now home to a new organization, Tigers Take a Stand a local chapter of Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol.
“The team consists of public health practitioners and researchers collaborating to develop a community intervention to prevent underage drinking and its harmful consequences,” said Amber Sparks, community organizer.
For the past few months members of the group have gone out in the community asking if citizens think there is a problem, locally, with underage drinking. The response was an overwhelming yes, according to the group.
“We want to challenge and change the acceptance of providing alcohol to teens. We also want to educate adults and the community about the risks associated with underage drinking and the adverse consequences such as: Academic problems, social and emotional problems, unplanned and risky sexual activity, car crashes, suicidal thoughts, family issues, unintentional injuries and death. Tigers Take a Stand is committed to making a difference in Pryor,” the group boasts on their Facebook page.
CMCA groups in Locust Grove and Jay have seen success in addressing the same issues in their communities.
“Seventy-one percent of high school students in Oklahoma have had at least one drink of alcohol. 38 percent of Oklahoma high school students report alcohol use in the past month,” said Sparks. “Twenty-three percent report binge drinking at least one day in the past month and 19 percent of Oklahoma high school students had their first drink of alcohol before the age of 13.”
According to the State Department of Mental Health, Oklahoma ranks seventh in the nation for underage drinking.
Tigers Take a Stand are standing against just that.
The purpose of the group is simple, to raise community awareness of underage drinking and combat it in order to prevent negative consequences. Research shows that teens consuming alcohol are more likely to suffer academically while also having social and emotional problems. Unintentional injuries, car crashes and long-lasting functional and structural changes to the brain are also among the consequences of underage drinking.
These Tigers hope to raise awareness in the community, educate youth and support law enforcement.
Other CMCA chapters have held fundraisers to furnish portable breathalyzers for law enforcement, patrolled sporting events and circulated petitions. Tigers Take a Stand have not announced their first project.
“We do encourage everyone to like our Facebook page, Tigers Take a Stand, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to be awarded Christmas week,” said Sparks.