Tuesday night in Bishop, Karen Kong with the Inyo County Health and Human Services Department held a town hall meeting to find out where the community stands on underage drinking.
Kong said that she had hoped for a lively debate, but the few community members who did attend the meeting were predominantly against teen drinking. Those who would take a more tolerant attitude toward this tricky subject did not show up.
Do you try to shut it down? Tolerate it? Enable it? Most at the meeting described a generally tolerant attitude toward underage drinking in Bishop. One parent described how parents accept teen drinking three nights of the year – Grad night, Halloween, and New Years Eve.
One High School student in the audience described how most people that she knows have a buyer, who can supply alcohol. She described most buyers, as 21-25 year old guys trying to get high school girls drunk, so that they could hook up.
One adult in the room described what he saw as a common sight – people walking out of stores with alcohol to pass it on to minors in the parking lots. He said that the community had blinders on, when it came to supplying alcohol to minors.
There was also talk of the gray area of acceptability. With young children, most people would find drinking unacceptable, but what about high school seniors, or even those who are over 18, but not yet 21?
With these questions and others in mind, the end result of the town hall meeting was to try to create a survey that looks into community attitudes toward teen drinking.
A second town hall meeting on teen drinking is scheduled for Lone Pine on Tuesday, July 1. This Lone Pine meeting is set to start at 7:00 pm in Statham Hall.