Parents/caregivers play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. A recent national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol or using other drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, nearly half (46 percent) of teens have been at such parties where parents were present. In Coffee County forty percent (40%) of adults have first-hand knowledge of parents who knowingly allow youth under 21 to drink in their home and do not do anything about it (2008 Focus Group Study).
Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition has teamed up with Drug-Free Action Alliance along with national sports icon and the 2012 Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking Campaign Spokesperson Clark Kellogg to spread the word in our community that underage drinking is unsafe, unhealthy and unacceptable.
FACT: As a parent, you cannot give 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 knowingly 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. According to Tennessee law, it is a Class A misdemeanor for any owner, occupant or other person having a lawful right to exclusive use and enjoyment of property to knowingly allow an underage person to consume alcoholic beverages.
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.
It is important for parents to proactively take measures to help ensure these special times are fun, yet safe and drug-free for their teens. Here are a few ideas for parents (and teens) planning celebratory 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.
For additional information, including the full list of parent tips and ideas, visit www.DrugFreeActionAlliance.org.