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Tips for Preventing Underage Drinking: For Parents During the Holiday Season

A 2012 survey of Putnam County students in grades 8-12 revealed that 44.6 percent of respondents believe that parental attitudes favor alcohol and drug use.

The Putnam County Communities That Care (CTC) Coalition is an anti-drug coalition that works to build a safe and healthy family-oriented community, which includes reducing the use of harmful substances by our adolescents. It is composed of individuals from all sectors of the community who work together to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors through education, enforcement and policy initiatives. As part of our mission to educate the community, we are posting this release as a way to provide you with information that you can share with your coaches, parents and participants.

As parents take part in holiday festivities, it is of critical importance that they make healthy choices around the use of alcohol. According to a recently released report from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, “teens that have seen their parent(s) drunk are likelier to drink and get drunk than teens that have not seen their parent(s) drunk. They are also likelier to try cigarettes and marijuana.”

Research has taught us time and again that active parents, voicing their disapproval of alcohol and other drug use, have proven themselves to be the most effective preventative method for keeping our children substance-free. A cohesive family with parents who model healthy decision making can make all the difference in helping young people to avoid antisocial behavior.

Holiday parties give individuals more of an opportunity to use drugs and alcohol.  This accounts for the increase in alcohol and drug-related tragedies during the festive season.  

A few holiday party tips for parents:

  • Lay down the law. Tell your child, prior to the party, that he or she is absolutely prohibited from drinking and using illegal substances.
  • Be a model for conscientious behavior. Have a plan for those who drink too much and make sure your guests do not drink and drive.
  • If you are hosting the party, offer an ample amount of non-alcoholic drinks, foods, and games to all.
  • Children may drink leftovers. Dispose of all unfinished beverages to prevent alcohol poisoning.
  • If your child is going to a party at a friend’s house, phone ahead and make sure there will not be any alcohol beverages available.

For more holiday safety tips, please visit: http://www.madd.org/media-center/media-library/safe-party-guide.html

To further reduce the prevalence of underage drinking, legislation has been passed in all Putnam County towns, entitled the “Social Host Liability” law, which makes it a crime to “host, suffer, permit, organize, or allow a party, gathering or event at his or her place of residence or other private property where three or more minors are present and alcoholic beverages are being consumed by any minor." This crime is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.

A 2012 survey of Putnam County students in grades 8-12 revealed that 44.6 percent of respondents believe that parental attitudes favor alcohol and drug use. What better way to end 2012 and begin 2013 than for parents throughout Putnam County to loudly and affirmatively voice their disapproval of alcohol and other drug use.

Members of the Putnam CTC Coalition are available if you have any questions or would like for us to do a presentation to your organization on this or any other substance abuse trends that affect our children. Please visit and join us on Facebook by searching “Putnam County Communities That Care – NY” or on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/PutnamCTCNY or call 845-225-4646

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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