Friday, November 10th, 2006
By Laura Walker
Underage drinking considered number one Mercer County problem
  Numbers from a $9,200 Mercer County Community Assessment survey are complete and indicate alcohol abuse is a prevalent local problem.
The numbers were presented by David Jones, Center for Urban & Public Affairs, Wright State University, Dayton, on Thursday morning to members of Community Organizations Linking Together.
Questions included everything from age, height, weight, insurance use, knowledge of community services, alcohol consumption and exercise. The last question of the survey asked the respondent to identify a problem in their neighborhood and identify the top three problems that need addressed in their neighborhood.
The last question's top three replies are as follows:
• Underage drinking was reported as the number one neighborhood problem by 89 percent of Mercer County respondents. This was also the top problem responders said needed addressed in their neighborhoods.
• Almost 85 percent said alcohol abuse is a problem in their neighborhood. Four out of 10 respondents put alcohol abuse as one of the top three problems needing addressed in their neighborhoods.
• Almost three quarters of respondents reported drug abuse as a problem in their neighborhoods. Slightly less than half of the respondents selected this as one of the top three problems needing addressed.
The assessment numbers were generated by more than 600 random phone calls across the county. Now that Jones has the numbers, he can run "crosstabs" to generate statistics for certain sections of the county and as a whole.
The numbers show where needs are met and where there are gaps, according to Mercer Health Department employee Sara Beiler. This aids organizations to go after and maintain funding, she adds.
Once the numbers are tabulated as COLT officials will plan a community presentation, she said. Additional numbers will be released periodically in future Daily Standard articles.
This assessment was called for and paid for by a group of organizations, including: the Mercer County Health Department; the Child and Family Health Service Program, a division of Mercer Health; Job and Family Services; Mercer County Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities; the Tobacco Foundation and the Mercer County Commissioners.
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