Karen Palmiero to discuss “90 Ways to Keep Your Kids Drug Free”
One Good Reason to Keep the Party Alcohol-Free: No Jail Time
Prevention research has demonstrated repeatedly that first-use statistics for alcohol and other drugs will spike at specific times of the year, among them the holidays, prom, and graduation. With the faulty belief that “If they are doing it in my home, they are safe,” parents can make the mistake of permitting drinking in their home, even providing the alcohol in some instances. It is important to understand that aside from any health risks you may be visiting on the kids drinking in your basement, what you are doing is against the law.
Westchester County has enacted legislation known as its “social host law” to deter easy access to alcohol by teens. You may not permit underage drinking in your home even if all the teens’ parents told you it was okay. And once you know about the drinking party in your basement, you are legally bound to take action to end it. Penalties include potential arrest, fines of up to $1000, and possible imprisonment, depending on the number of offenses. Add to those restrictions the New York State Social Host Liability Law, which imposes civil liability on the “social host” for any injury or damage to other persons or property that results from your failure to adequately monitor your premises.
Some tips for parents who want to help their teens stay safe during the “social season”:
- Talk to your child about alcohol. Substance abuse prevention experts encourage parents to “talk early and talk often.” They are listening to you, and your voice does matter.
- Help your teen develop effective ways of saying “no thanks.”
- Ask questions about the party before they go.
- Be awake when your teen gets home at night and greet him/her.
- Get to know your teens’ friends, and get to know their parents as well.
- Remind your teen that really “fitting in” means not drinking—73% of American kids 12 to 20 haven’t been drinking in the past month. There’s plenty of good company in that.
What percentage of American youth do you think drink alcohol? Use illicit drugs? Smoke tobacco? Use marijuana? What are the trends?
Since 1975 the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey has measured drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Check your perceptions about use against the facts you will find here. To understand how far we have come, and where we need to get to on the prevention scale, learn more about Monitoring the Future.