YMCA of Greater El Paso TX & Rio Grande Valley Reduces Underage Drinking through Policy and Environmental Change
Shift+ (pronounced “Shift Positive”) is the Alcohol Prevention initiative of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. The goals of the initiative are to reduce underage drinking and binge drinking. The YMCA of Greater of El Paso serves as the backbone agency for the initiative and supports a diverse group of stakeholders who have aligned their regional alcohol prevention efforts.
The Paso del Norte region includes Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; El Paso County, TX; and Luna County, Dona Ana County, and Otero County in Southern New Mexico. The YMCA of Greater El Paso coordinates alcohol policy efforts in El Paso and neighboring New Mexico counties, and collaborates with colleagues in Ciudad Juárez to ensure partnerships rather than being constrained by county/state/country borders. The science is clear that to reduce underage and binge drinking, you have to first understand what youth are drinking, how it is being marketed to them, how cheap and readily available it is, and where the problem drinking is happening. Once communities understand their particular risk factors, they can implement evidence-based strategies that respond to those risk factors.
As part of a 14-month advocacy training program, staff have been collecting data to better understand local risk factors. Consistent with state and national data, in El Paso and Southern New Mexico research indicates that most drinking among young people occurs in other people’s homes, often at large “house parties” where binge drinking is common. In response, many communities are adopting local, civil “Social Host” laws to hold parents accountable for underage and high-risk drinking that happens in their homes. Advocates in the community work with law enforcement, public health departments, faith-based organizations and local and state coalitions to learn more about these laws and how they can help keep youth and communities safer and healthier.
Want to know more about how the YMCA of Greater El Paso is working on changing the context to reduce underage and binge drinking? Click here for a recent update from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation on the Shift+ Initiative!
For more information on the advocacy training program, contact Holly Mata at the YMCA of Greater El Paso at 915-532-9622 or firstname.lastname@example.org