Underage drinking targeted

Underage drinking targeted
“Parents Who Host, Lose the Most” yard signs are popping up across Obion County as part of the Obion County Prevention Coalition’s effort to stop social hosting and underage drinking in Obion County.
Local coalition members know that parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. They also know that some adults provide, knowingly allow or fail to stop a minor from drinking or possessing alcoholic beverages, which is commonly known as social hosting.
In a National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia Univer-sity survey to parents and teens, one-third of teen partygoers have been to parties 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 Obion County Prevention Coalition has partnered with Drug Free Action Alliance and “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” to reinforce its community message that underage drinking is unsafe, unhealthy and unacceptable.
“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,” a spokesman for the organization said. “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. Based on Tennessee law, you can face up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine and loss of property.”
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.
The following 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 the 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 and movies;
• 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 and 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 or she should never allow someone who has been drinking to drive them anywhere.
“Our youth deserve to live and grow to adulthood in an environment where alcohol is not misused. Let’s be unified in our message, and host alcohol-free parties with plenty of fun activities to show our youth that we care about their future,” Obion County Prevention Coalition spokesman said.
In addition to the “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most” campaign to stop social hosting, the Obion County Prevention Coalition participates in Red Ribbon Week, National Kick Butts Week, National Night Out and Obion County Drug Take Back. Information has been distributed at parent nights in both the Union City and Obion County school systems, at the CornFest Chalk Art Contest, at the Obion County Fair and in a radio campaign airing during Tennessee Titans and local football games. A billboard in the county will also be utilized.
Each year the coalition joins the Union City Police Department, Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City and the DEA for a drug take-back program. A permanent drug box is located at the Union City Police Department for residents to properly dispose of out-of-date or no longer needed prescription or over-the-counter medications. A special Drug Take Back Day is planned for Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the front entrance of the hospital.
The coalition has a tip hotline for the Obion County community. tip411* helps engage community members of all ages by enabling anyone with a cell phone to text anonymous tips to local law enforcement.
Anyone who wishes to become active in the Obion County Prevention Coalition may attend monthly meetings at the Obion County Public Library. The next meeting is Oct. 17 at noon.
For more information, call coalition coordinator Regina Hendon at 885-1341 or email her at ocpcoalition@gmail.com.
Published in The Messenger 9.27.12

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