Roy underage drinking

Officer Broc Gresham of the Roy Police Department in a screen grab from one of three videos created as part of a new campaign in the city to prevent underage drinking. The videos are to be officially unveiled on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019.

ROY — Concerned about higher alcohol use among Roy students, a coalition of officials, parents and others have created a video campaign aimed at preventing underage drinking.

The focus of the initiative, to be formally unveiled at a gathering organized by the Roy Communities That Care Coalition, is to heighten parental awareness about the issue and get moms and dads more involved in their kids’ lives. Three videos at the heart of the new effort will be unveiled at the coalition’s National Family Dinner Night and Resource Fair. That’s set for next Monday starting at 6:30 p.m. at George Whalen North Park at 4200 S. 2175 West in Roy.

“We want the parents to talk to their kids,” said Samantha Tilton, who, as prevention coordinator with Weber Human Services, has worked with the Roy representatives in creating the initiative. She said studies show that parents typically start talking with their kids about alcohol two to three years after they’ve tried it. The aim is to start those conversations sooner.

The Communities that Care Coalition, a cross section of Roy residents focused, in part, on decreasing youth violence and substance abuse, identified underage drinking as a concern based on figures from the state’s Student Health and Risk Prevention, or SHARP, survey. The Utah Department of Human Services administers the survey of students, and findings show “significantly higher” levels of alcohol use among Roy-area students compared to the state average, according to Tilton.

ParentsEmpowered.org, a state organization funded by the state Legislature focused on reducing underage drinking, helped the Roy group put the three videos together. Officers from the Roy Police Department are featured in them, advising parents variously to set boundaries, know what their kids are doing and maintain open communication.

“Look for ways to develop a closer bond with your kids. That’s one of the best ways to prevent underage drinking. Find out what your kids are interested in so you can be part of their world,” says the officer in one of the ads. The slickly produced videos also feature snippets from ParentsEmpowered.org television ads that have aired around the state.

Among the speakers at Monday’s event will be Roy Mayor Bob Dandoy and police, school and Roy Communities that Care Coalition representatives.

“We want the kids to be successful,” said Dandoy. The initiative is meant, in part, “to prevent problems now in our youth population so we don’t have to deal with them with our police force and in our courts in the future.”

Tilton said those involved in the effort are still working on the campaign to get the videos in front of the eyes of the public.

A free dinner will be provided to the first 600 in attendance at Monday’s event.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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