This time of year is busy for families with teens. This is the season for graduation parties. House parties are the primary source by which youth obtain alcohol.
National surveys have found that the vast majority of high school teens report obtaining alcohol at their home with or without their parents’ permission.
The Greenwich Police Dept. reminds anyone exercising dominion of any property that they have a legal responsibility to stop anyone under the age of 21 from possessing alcohol on their property. Police note that legal responsibility means they may be held criminally and civilly responsible for any crime or injury that happens once that alcohol was consumed by anyone under the age of 21.
According to Connecticut General Statutes, C.G.S. 30-89a(a)(1)(a), No person having possession of, or exercising DOMINION OR CONTROL over, any dwelling unit or private property shall (1) knowingly permit any minor to possess alcoholic liquor.
The following are some party guidelines which may help to keep teens safe and underage parties alcohol-free:
• Prepare your teenager for the possibility that uninvited guests may arrive when you are away. Your teen should know where to reach you, another responsible adult, or the police.
• Call the parents who are hosting the party to ask them whether they plan on keeping it an alcohol-free party. Ask the host what time the party is going to end.
• Consider saying NO to any sleep over invitation extended to your teen.
• Be awake when your child returns home and greet them. Look out for signs of alcohol and drug use.
• Make a plan with your child to call you if they discover alcohol at a party.
• Make sure your child calls you if they plan on leaving the party to go somewhere else.
• Plan the activity with your teen and discuss who is invited.
• Have a responsible adult at the door to enforce the guest list.
• Have sufficient number of responsible chaperones.
• Be visible and circulate frequently throughout the party.
• No one should leave the party and then return.
• Don’t allow water bottles and backpacks into the party.
• Call the parent if a teen brings alcohol.
• Establish areas of the house that are off-limits.
• Lock liquor and medicine cabinets.
• Don’t get in a car with someone who has been drinking or doing drugs. Call your parents or Safe Rides at (203)869-8445.
• Don’t drink something if you unsure of it’s origin/contents. There are many drinks that can be spiked with drugs that can render you unconscious.
• Stay in groups; don’t let a friend walk off with someone if they have been drinking.
• If one of your friends makes a mistake, don’t make it worse by leaving someone alone who may pass out. Call a responsible adult and immediately call 911 if you suspect alcohol poisoning. You may be saving a life.
Sources: NIAAA, Connecticut Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking, and Parents Together.