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Fighting Alcohol Abuse Together

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) – The Area Substance Abuse Council is taking the early steps in creating a three-county effort to tackle all kinds of substance abuse issues in Linn, Benton and Jones County. A piece of that coalition, the Responsible Alcohol Service Subcommittee, met Wednesday for the first time, bringing business owners face to face to tackle those issues together.

Through good economic times and recessions, ASAC says alcohol sales have climbed every year for the past decade. The problems that come with drinking aren’t going anywhere, so places that serve alcohol are coming together to fight back

In the name of making the nightlife in Eastern Iowa more safe, ASAC is bringing together anyone in the business of selling alcohol, from bar owners to beer distributors, together, sharing coffee, finding a way to keep things under control when they sell alcohol.

"We don't want problems,” said Michelle Williams from the Juke Joint. “We want people to have fun, but there's a limit too."

A handful of subcommittees under a much larger Linn County Coalition will handle specific topics from alcohol to drug abuse.

The focus for Wednesday’s conversation was underage and binge drinking.

"We're basically on the front lines so it's easier for us to give the ideas for how to combat it,” said Bar Manager Bill Carr.

That’s the idea: bring in the people who battle these issues every night in their separate establishments and have them form a plan to fight it together.

"Once they say, "Hey, you know what? We tried this new policy, it was recommended to us, we've had a lot of success, you're going to see some changes,” said ASAC Prevention Specialist Jeffery Meyers.

The steps can be simple.

Clearly stated and posted bar policies for patrons to see to calling and paying for taxi cabs when someone has had too much.

Instead of pitting bars and law enforcement against one another, the coalition brings them together, "in a way that embraces them and has them be a part of what we're trying to do,” said Meyers.

The next meeting of the entire coalition is on September 16th. For more information, you’re encouraged to contact Jeffery Meyers at jmeyers@asac.us.
 
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