LABELLE, FL. -- Governor Jeb Bush and First Lady Columba Bush today joined
the Governor's State Leadership Commission for Reducing Underage Drinking
to announce new initiatives to reduce youth alcohol use in Florida. The
initiatives are based on the recommendations in the 2004 Changing Alcohol
Norms report published by the Florida Office of Drug Control.
"Unfortunately, alcohol and binge drinking remain the two highest forms of
substance abuse by youth in Florida and across the nation," said Governor
Bush. In January, Governor Bush created the Governor's State Leadership
Commission for Reducing Underage Drinking, comprised of state agency heads,
to increase education and awareness on the dangers associated with underage
drinking, increase training and enforcement efforts among law enforcement
officials and conduct in-depth research and analysis on emerging issues and
trends associated with underage drinking.
Among the agencies Governor Bush charged with addressing this issue are the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Department of Business and
Professional Regulation - Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco,
Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Department of
Education, Department of Health, Department of Children and Families,
Department of Juvenile Justice and the Agency for Workforce Innovation.
The 2005 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey has recently reported that
alcohol use among middle and high school students has declined by 10
percent since 2000. Efforts to reduce binge drinking have achieved greater
success with statewide reductions of 19 percent among middle and high
school students. While the numbers show a downward trend, alcohol remains
the most frequently abused substance by youth in Florida.