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Many help relay dangers of drinking

April is the month when the Boulder City Fire Department joins in the cause of alcohol awareness. Across America different organizations reach out to the public in an attempt to raise awareness for problems associated with alcoholism.

In fact, alcoholism is a disease that affects a large number of the American population.

Alcohol use and abuse is on the rise in America, with a younger and younger population picking up the bottle every year. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 86.8 percent of people ages 18 and older report that they drank alcohol at some point in their lives, and a staggering 24.6 percent of people 18 and older have admitted to binge drinking in the past month.

These numbers do not do justice to the reader until we break down the damaging effects. Nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, making it the third leading preventable cause of death.

Alcohol misuse problems cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006, according to the institute, with approximately three quarters of that related to binge drinking.

According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 5.4 million Americans between ages 12-20 were binge drinkers, and approximately 1.4 million Americans 12-20 years old were heavy or regular drinkers.

With statistics that high we can see there is clearly a problem with underage drinking, and a growing trend that drinking is OK. The fact is most people who drink, especially those underage, do not accept the inherent dangers of drinking.

Earlier this month, the Boulder City Fire Department teamed up with the Boulder City Police Department as well as staff members at Boulder City High School and many organizations around town to help bring some of these dangers to light.

Every two years we participate in a national program called Every 15 Minutes. This program is designed for high school-age students to see the deadly consequences of underage drinking, as well as drinking and driving.

This year the staged scenario of a drunk, underage driver who caused a fatal accident went off with great success. The entire production takes months of preparation as well as support and assistance from businesses and associations here in Boulder City and from the Las Vegas Valley.

The local police and fire department respond to the staged scenario as if the accident were happening for real, and in real time to give the students a sense of what this tragic accident would look like.

They see the extrication and transportation of the “victims,” one by ambulance and the other by flight.

The scene is made even more real with the presence of vehicles involved in actual crashes as well as stage makeup to make everything appear as real as possible.

The Boulder City Fire and Boulder City Police departments would like to thank everyone who was involved with making this year’s presentation of Every 15 Minutes possible. Without their help and support this would not be possible.

We would like to thank: Boulder City Hospital, Boulder City Mortuary, Boulder City Sunrise Rotary, Rotary Club of Boulder City, Boulder City Public Works staff, Boulder City Parks and Recreation, Boulder City courts, Boulder City High School, Foothill High School film crew, Rev. Sandy Johnson, Railroad Pass, Albertsons, Big John Towing, Mercy Air 7, Boulder City Citizen Academy Alumni Association, Nevada Community Prevention Coalition, CJ Ford, Robby Berkheimer, Jim Pretty, Felicia Borla, Melanie Holt, Clark County Detention Center, Vicky Johnson, Mike Pacini, Clark County coroner’s office, John Barth, the Hanson family, and Vic Kundargi.

Again, thank you for all those who participated and helped make this year’s presentation a success.

For more information regarding Every 15 Minutes or if you would like to help with the 2017 production, please feel free to contact me at the Boulder City firehouse at 702-293-9228, or email me at bshea@bcnv.org.

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.

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