While not everyone is drinking, for those who do, the risks are high. Alcohol is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage youth.
Teenagers and Alcohol Should Not Mix!
Does it ever feel like everyone at school is drinking? While it can often seem this way, the reality is the vast majority of teens are choosing to abstain… and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the 30 days prior to the survey, only 34.9% reported drinking some amount of alcohol and 20.8% reported binge drinking.
The millions of teens choosing not to drink are making a smart decision. Many teens underestimate the problems that drinking alcohol can pose and do not realize that it can contribute to symptoms of depression. Alcohol may give you a buzz and make you feel more relaxed and social, but alcohol is actually a depressant, which means it will decrease your energy, make you feel tired, and increase your risk of feeling even more depressed. Sometimes people turn to alcohol to try to feel better, but end up feeling worse when the effects of drinking wear off.
Other risks include:
- School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.
- Social problems, including fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.
- Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.
- Higher risk for suicide and homicide.
- Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.
- Abuse of other drugs.
- Changes in brain development that may have permanent effects.
Anyone can develop a serious alcohol problem, including a teenager. In fact, drinking alcohol when you’re young raises your chances of becoming addicted as an adult.
If you worried about yourself or a friend or your child, know that help is available.
Contact our office for assistance: 678-489-3279
Social Hosting Ordinances Help our Community by Holding Parents Accountable
Parents must remain vigilant in their efforts to curb underage drinking. Many times, the line between being a parent and being a friend to your child can become blurred. Some parents think that by allowing their kids and their kids’ friends to consume alcohol at their residence - even if the parents don’t provide the alcohol - that they are providing a safe place, believing, “at least I know where my kid is and what he/she is doing.” That’s a phrase often said by parents who choose to social host.
A Duty to Protect
It’s understandable for a parent to want to be the “cool” parent and have that special relationship with their children. However, parents owe a duty to their children to protect them from the dangers of the world and to teach their children what is right from what is wrong. Sometimes a parent must be “uncool” in order to do the right thing. By allowing children to drink at home, parents reinforce the idea that drinking underage is not against the law.
Parents should know that eventually these parties will move away from your home. Will it still be okay for underage children to consume alcohol then? We hope not.
A Community at Risk
When parents choose to host parties that involve underage drinking, they are not “cool” parents. They not only put their children at risk, they put the children of others at risk and they put the community as a whole at risk. With social media, these gatherings often spiral out of control. A small gathering grows into an event that spills into the yards of neighbors and into the streets of our community. More often than not, these gatherings involve underage alcohol consumption. Underage drinking increases the risk of driving while under the influence, traffic accidents, violence, sexual assault, and other negative behaviors. Alcohol is a common factor in many of the cases that are prosecuted in our court systems, not only criminally, but civilly as well.
Fayette County’s social hosting ordinance holds those parents accountable who choose to allow underage alcohol consumption at these events. It is a tool used by law enforcement and prosecutors to make our community safer. It is also a tool that parents can use as a reason not to allow underage alcohol consumption at these gatherings. The ultimate goal is to educate our youth about the dangers of underage alcohol consumption and to make our community as a whole, a safer and better place.
In celebrating National Alcohol Awareness Month, we ask that every parent educate themselves about the Social Hosting Ordinances that have been adopted by Fayette County, Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone, Brooks, and Woolsey. You can begin to do that by Googling, “Fayette County GA Social Hosting Ordinances.” Parents should educate their children about the dangers of underage drinking. We owe that to our children, ourselves and our community. Stand united with us and with law enforcement so that we can continue to help curb underage drinking and continue making Fayette County a safer community.
Fayette County’s social host ordinance can be found by googling “Fayette County GA Municode” then going to Chapter 16, paragraph 9. Similar social host ordinances exist for Peachtree City, Fayetteville, Tyrone, Woolsey and Brooks. You can also see local law enforcement heads talk about social hosting in a 3 minute video by googling “Drug Free Fayette Social Hosting.”