Anthony Santucci Chairman of CADA noted that s tatistics show that in 70% of all road fatalities alcohol and or drugs were involved.  Between 2006 and 2008, 42 people died on our roads in Bermuda. So far this year, we have recorded five fatalities.

 

Every day we must make a decision, as a community, as a family and as an individual to help find ways to put an end to these senseless deaths.  We cannot accept 22 deaths in 16 months with any level of comfort. It has to make us uncomfortable enough to continue to look for alternatives and through this discomfort we can come together and say enough is enough and do something concrete.

            In 2008, through the TIPS program CADA trained 201 bartenders, alcohol servers and managers from 61 establishments around the Island. So far this year, CADA has trained 102 people. We have more training sessions planned throughout the year.  Our mission is to train every single person responsible for selling and serving alcohol in Bermuda. We know this program gives those who have been through the training the tools to help patrons who have been drinking too much, teaches the alcohol servers how to cut people off and how to help them get home safely.

            Another service proudly provided by CADA is Let Us Drive. This is a free taxi service that takes people home on Friday nights. The taxis operate from outside of the LOMBuilding.

Since its inception in May 2007, Let Us Drive has taken almost 2,500 people home. Last year the service provided free transportation to almost 1,500 people and for the first three months of this year almost 500 passengers have gotten home safely.  This free service would not be possible without the support of our Lead Sponsor Bacardi Limited and supporting sponsors Burrows Lightbourn, Goslings, Bermuda Bistro at the Beach and The Fairmont Group

I would now like to turn to the work CADA is doing with children.  In 2008, almost 100 of Bermuda's children aged between 6yrs old and 11yrs old, completed CADA's eight week life skills program.  The objective of this program is to increase the social, emotional and life skills of children and develop their character, thereby reducing the likelihood that they will feel the need to become users of alcohol or drugs.

            I mentioned at the beginning of my talk personal responsibility in reducing underage drinking.  As we think about our children we have to recognize that we also have a responsibility to reduce their access to alcohol.  You may be shocked to learn that the average age of first use of alcohol in Bermuda was shown to be ten and a half years old. We have to find ways to increase the age children are first introduced to alcohol because the younger a person is when they begin drinking alcohol they are more likely to develop alcohol dependence (alcoholism).  We also know that if a child is introduced to alcohol before the age of 15 they are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence (alcoholism) than those who wait until the age of 21. 

            Research shows that of the children who do consume alcohol, 65% say they get it from family members or friends. Personal responsibility dictates that we don't allow children to drink from our glasses that contain alcohol. Nor should we deliberately give them a sip of beer. Beer is an alcoholic beverage.  Personal responsibility dictates that we talk to our children about alcohol use and abuse and that we model appropriate positive alcohol consumption in front of our children by not getting drunk. Remember, they will grow up to do what they have seen us do.

            I invite you to check out our revamped website at www.CADA.BM.  You can learn about all the alcohol awareness month activities we have planned for April.

I appreciate the time you have given me today to address:

            Our personal responsibility when it comes to drinking and driving.

            Our personal responsibility as parents, grandparents, godparents, guardians, aunts and uncles when it comes to reducing underage drinking; and

            I encourage you to become familiar with CADA's new look and feel. As I said, we are now CADA, encouraging responsible alcohol behavior.