To parents: Teen-drinking parties have host of consequences
Updated: August 29, 2012 4:49PM
First, the Park Ridge Police Department congratulates the graduating seniors at Maine East and Maine South high schools. We are all very proud of the work our students did this year and wish them success in their futures.
The department also recognizes all of the other students in our community. Your hard work has paid off and summer is here. It’s a time to relax and to have fun. However, we all have to work together to be safe.
Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In a national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, one-third of teen party-goers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using cocaine, Ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, nearly half of teens have been at such parties where parents were present.
Drug-Free Action Alliance has developed the Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t Be a Party to Teenage Drinking Public Awareness Campaign to provide parents with accurate information about the health risks of underage drinking and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth. The campaign encourages parents and the community to send a unified message at prom and graduation time that teen alcohol consumption is not acceptable. It is illegal, unsafe, and unhealthy for anyone under age 21 to drink alcohol.
Here are the facts:
• There are many health-related consequences of youths consuming alcohol, including negative effects on brain development, deviant behavior including stealing and skipping school, and a greater risk of becoming alcohol-dependant later in life.
• Parents who give alcohol to their teen’s friends under any circumstances, even in their own homes, are breaking the law.
• Parents who knowingly allow a person under 21 to remain in their home or on their property while consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages can be prosecuted.
• Parents can be sued if they allow anyone under 21 to consume alcohol and they, in turn, hurt someone or damage property.
Underage use of alcohol is a serious problem that too often leads to harmful consequences for youths and their families. Parents can protect themselves and their teens by following these guidelines when hosting parties for their children:
• Host safe, alcohol-free activities and events for youths.
• Refuse to supply alcohol to children or allow drinking in your home or on your property.
• Be at home when your teen has a party.
• Make sure your teenager’s friends do not bring alcohol into your home.
• Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at youth events.
Our youths deserve to live and grow to adulthood in an environment where alcohol is not misused. Let’s be unified in our message, and host alcohol-free parties with plenty of fun activities to show our youths that we care about their future.
— Frank Kaminski is the chief of police in Park Ridge.