Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. In a National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University survey to parents and teens, one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties (prom and graduation included) where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or using cocaine, ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, nearly half of teens have been at parties where parents were present.
The Alliance for Safe Kids has partnered with Drug Free Action Alliance along with national sports icon and Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking honorary chair, Clark Kellogg to reinforce our community message that underage drinking is unsafe, unhealthy and unacceptable.
FACT: As a parent, you cannot provide alcohol to your teen’s friends under the age of 21 under any circumstance, even in your own home, even with their parent’s permission. You also cannot allow a person under 21, other than your own child, to remain in your home or on your property while consuming or possessing alcohol. There are legal consequences if you do.
With prom and graduation season upon us, it is imperative for parents to be aware of the increased risk of teen alcohol parties occurring and the potential dangers that accompany those alcohol-fueled gatherings. Simply taking away the car keys does not solve all of the problems related to underage drinking.
“June is a month filled with many celebrations – graduation parties, proms and year-end festivities – that are all wonderful ways to celebrate our childrens’ accomplishments”, said Liz Talbert ASK Coalition Coordinator. “It is important for parents to proactively take measures to help ensure these special times are fun, yet safe and alcohol-free for their teens.”
Here are a few ideas for parents (and teens) planning celebratory prom and graduation parties:
Create a party plan, including a guest list, with your teen
- Invite just the friends on your list and let them know in advance the party is ‘invitation only’
- Let party guests know that if they leave, they cannot come back
- Plan some activities such as music, games, movies, etc
- Make regular and unobtrusive visits to the party area with sensitivity to teens’ needs for privacy
If your teen is attending a party:
- Know where your child will be. Call the parent in charge to verify the location of the party. Ensure there will be adult supervision ant that the host will not be serving or allowing alcohol.
- Set a curfew for your teen to be home and when they arrive home, have them check in with you.
- Know how your child is getting to and from the party. Reinforce the message to your teenager that he/she should never allow someone who has been drinking to drive them anywhere.’
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