Local expert shares knowledge about preventing underage drinking
Lexington, SC (Pam Imm) - An updated resource is now available for communities and citizens that are looking for information about how to reduce and prevent underage drinking. Dr. Pam Imm, a community psychologist who lives in Lexington and has been researching this topic for over 25 years, has presented evidence-based practices in a new book co-authored with her RAND colleagues. The second edition of the book, Adolescent Substance Abuse, edited by Drs. Tom Gullotta and Carl Leukefeld, provides updated research on what is effective on this very important topic.
In the book, Dr. Imm and her colleagues describe community-based intervention to reduce alcohol use and misuse. “Alcohol continues to be the most frequently used drug among adolescents and young adults in communities. Although stories of opioids including heroin are popular in the press, alcohol use and misuse continues to be a very big issue.” Dr. Imm, who consultants with LRADAC, a state funded alcohol and other addiction intervention and prevention agency, and many communities in South Carolina, including several in the Midlands area, indicates that many prevention and enforcement strategies implemented in SC are evidence-based indicating that they have proven through repeated research studies to show positive results.
Dr. Imm described how community coalitions are the best vehicle for community change. “Reducing and preventing underage drinking can be a complicated issue and it definitely requires community agencies, organizations, and individuals working together.” The geographical areas of Lexington School District One and Lexington District Two both have community coalitions working to address this issue, and there are plans to organize the Lexington Four district to begin this work in a systematic way.
Dr. Imm, who also serves as the board chairperson for MADD reported that there are still too many deaths on our South Carolina roads due to alcohol. In 2016, 331 individuals lost their lives on SC roads in alcohol related crashes. “Youth who begin using alcohol frequently grow up to be adults who drink and drive.” Addressing community conditions that contribute to youth drinking alcohol is a major component of the chapter”.
In the next article, Dr. Imm will describe specific strategies for communities and individuals to reduce and prevent underage drinking. If you have a loved one who is struggling with alcohol or drug use, please call 726-9300 or visit www.lradac.org. LRADAC has an office in Lexington on Hwy 6.
The book that Dr. Imm collaborated on will be out in July of this year. If you’d like to learn more about this issue, or perhaps have her speak to a group, please e-mail her at Drpamimm@gmail.com.