Impacting Underage Drinking Laws

Porter-CountyThe Porter County Substance Abuse Council announced today that their October Council meeting will have special guests from Indianapolis. The Honorable Judge Linda Chezem will be at the Council meeting to meet with local leaders, council members and interested citizens, about a study she is conducting of the underage drinking problem in Indiana. She is specifically interested in local concerns and will be in Porter County to receive community input.

Underage drinking continues to be a problem across the country and here in Porter County. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that in the last 30 days 26.4% of adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 used alcohol. A school official recently shared that for older teenagers wanting to go out, “if it’s a bonfire or a sleepover think twice about saying okay.” SAMHSA shows this as accurate because 56.2% of current underage drinkers (same age group) noted that their last use of alcohol occurred in someone else’s home. Here in Porter County there are between 200 and 300 underage drinking arrests every year.

Judge Chezem was the first female County Court judge appointed by Governor Bowen in 1975. She was also the first female Circuit Court judge, serving from 1982-1988 and the first female appointed to the Indiana Court of Appeals where she served until 1998.

Chezem holds an appointment as Professor, Youth Development and Agriculture Education, College of Agriculture, Purdue University. She also has a part time appointment at the Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Medicine and Purdue School of Science – Indianapolis, Forensic Science Program, and is a senior research fellow of the Sagamore Institute. She continues to lend her assistance to various agencies at the federal and state levels across the country dealing with alcohol abuse and addiction.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, October 11 at 11 a.m. The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which will be held at the Valparaiso Police Department, 355 South Washington Street. There is no charge to attend the meeting.

Dedicated to working for a drug-free Porter County, the Substance Abuse Council is a coalition of treatment facilities, education providers, members of the justice community and concerned citizens. A member of the Governor’s Commission for a Drug Free Indiana, the Council has been providing funding to community resources for over fifteen years.