Alcohol is the most commonly misused substance, and Milwaukee stands out as an especially hard-drinking town that is among the national leaders in binge drinking. The significance of alcohol’s importance in our community cannot be understated, and indications of this toxic culture are everywhere, from iconic brewery landmarks and sports teams' events to the city’s plentiful bars and “corner tap” culture. This can be especially triggering to those keeping sobriety after living in active addiction to alcohol.
We realize that most adults are able to drink responsibly and do not misuse alcohol. However, the easy accessibility of alcohol, cultural norms, and the high rates of binge and underage drinking pose problems for our community. RISE Drug Free MKE and our partners encourage shifting the norms around problematic drinking and creating an environment in which responsible drinking or abstinence is the norm.
RISE Drug Free MKE has approached the issue of problematic drinking in these ways:
- Cosponsored three sessions on Changing Your Alcohol Environment for coalition members, policy makers, and community stakeholders. Keynote speakers were Randy Wambeam of the University of Wyoming on our alcohol history and culture, and Julia Sherman of the Wisconsin Alcohol Policy Project on changing local policies to prevent problematic drinking. Watch their presentations on our YouTube channel.
- Distribute the Department of Health Services’ “Small Talks” campaign materials which focuses on underage drinking at an early age.
- Engage in strategies to prevent underage drinking among youth in the 53206 zip code via our federally funded 53206 Drug-Free Communities Project and Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act grant, and throughout Milwaukee County through our Partnerships for Success-19 grant.
- Educated the public on how alcohol is marketed and sold in Milwaukee, and how it impacts youth. Experts from the City of Milwaukee Tobacco-Free Alliance, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Counter Tools, and UW-Madison Population Health Institute presented their findings from 2017-2019 retail assessments in Milwaukee. Watch the webinar now.