Out of sight, out of mind

Kujo’s and the community members who recently gave the Kalaheo convenience store a family-friendly makeover should be commended for stepping up in the ongoing effort to curb underage drinking.

We can all do without the ads for alcohol plastered on the sides of businesses around the island. Kujo’s’ willingness to let student volunteers remove most of these signs at its property puts us at the forefront of a statewide effort to change people’s perceptions. Let’s hope more places that sell booze take similar initiative.

But image isn’t everything. We must be more vigilant in educating the public about the dangers associated with drinking too much beer, wine or liquor. Hitting the preventative end hard is a critical component of a three-pronged attack in this campaign.

We can’t bail on funding after-school programs and we must preserve arts and athletics options alive for students kindergarten through 12th grades. Keeping youth busy learning valuable life lessons outside the classroom can simultaneously help keep them out of trouble.

But while we focus on re-energizing our prevention efforts, we can’t lessen our expectations of enforcement and rehabilitation.

Far too many drivers are cruising the island after one-too-many drinks. We can’t count on luck alone to ensure a safe trip home each night for those under the influence and for innocent bystanders who could find themselves in harm’s way.

We’ve seen too many young lives end too early at the hands of some drunk behind the wheel. We should remind teens that they’re not invincible.

For those who have been arrested for OVUII, we hope lessons were learned. For repeat offenders, we renew our call for more effective rehabilitation programs here on Kaua‘i.

We urge more residents and businesses to get involved in the effort to rein in irresponsible drinking and alcohol abuse.

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