Sunday, September 19th, 2021

Graduation should be a celebrated time of life

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015

Article submitted by LACE

Welcome to graduation season. It’s a time of celebration, and a time when some parents face the decision of whether or not to allow teens to drink alcohol in their homes. There are serious negative consequences for both parents and teens when parents make the choice to provide alcohol. Unfortunately, many parents subscribe to common myths and misperceptions related to underage drinking:

Myth: Parents who serve alcohol to teens at home are under no legal jeopardy. Truth: There are criminal penalties for any adult who serves alcohol to teens. For a first offense, the penalty is up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. With a prior conviction, the penalties increase to up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail. If serious bodily injury or death results, the penalty increases to six months to 2½ years in jail or prison, and up to a $10,000 fine. Civil liabilities can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Myth: Some parents think teens will be safe drinking at home, especially if they take the keys. Truth: Young people can die from alcohol poisoning at home as easily as they can anywhere else. Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) found that 68 percent of deaths related to underage alcohol use are not traffic-related. The study found 32 percent of these deaths are traffic-related, 30 percent are homicides, 14 percent are suicides, nine percent are alcohol poisonings and 15 percent are from other causes.

Myth: Some parents think that providing alcohol to teens at home decreases the risk for continued drinking as teens get older, and subsequent drinking problems later in life. Truth: The opposite is true – supplying alcohol to minors actually increases the risk for continued drinking in the teenage years and leads to subsequent problem drinking later in life.

Myth: Some parents believe that being ‘too strict’ about teen drinking will cause teens to drink more when they first leave home and do not have as much parental oversight. Truth: Research reveals that teens who perceive their parents to be more permissive about alcohol use are more likely to abuse alcohol and to use other drugs.

Myth: Young people from European cultures whose parents give them alcohol at an early age learn to drink more responsibly than their American counterparts. Truth: A greater percentage of European youth report drinking regularly (in the past 30 days) versus American youth, and for a majority of European countries, a greater percentage of young people report having been intoxicated before the age of 13 than in the U.S. The World Health Organization found the earlier young people start drinking, the more likely they are to experience alcohol-related injury and alcohol dependence later in life.

Parents are the number one influence on their children’s decisions about alcohol, so it’s imperative that parents have frequent conversations with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking, and never provide alcohol to minors.

For more information, please visit us on Facebook at Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts - LACE.