This spring, KYCC (Koreatown Youth & Community Center) introduced three PATCH (Promoting Advocacy Through Community Health) campaigns to reduce youth access to alcohol and marijuana in both social and retail settings. As part of the PATCH program, KYCC also unveiled new local data on alcohol and marijuana use among Korean, Latino and other immigrant youth.
Alcohol is the top substance abuse problem in Koreatown, Pico-Union and Westlake, with marijuana as a close second, according to KYCC’s most recent research. Use is closely linked to access, as 72% (or 336 of 467 total respondents) of community members from all three neighborhoods shared that it is easy for minors to get alcohol. Peer pressure was cited as the number one reason for minors drinking alcohol, and number two was “too many liquor or grocery stores selling alcohol to minors.”
In response, PATCH’s three campaigns include:
- Creating Lasting Family Connections, a substance abuse prevention education that teaches resiliency and healthy decision making to local middle school students at community centers and school settings.
- Community Prevention Council, comprised of local parents committed to creating a supportive environment for their children.
- Card Under 35 Pledge Campaign, a partnership with local stores to card customers who look under 35 years old, so as to avoid any potential alcohol sales to minors and ultimately to protect their business from penalties as a result of violations.
“In our agency’s experience working with local youth since 1975, we see on a daily basis the toll that substance abuse has on our communities, leading to other social problems such as crime, broken families, and school drop-out,” stated Johng Ho Song, Executive Director of KYCC. “The younger a youth first drinks alcohol, the greater their chances are of binge drinking. That’s why prevention is so important – to ensure that each young person can be healthy and reach their fullest potential.”