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Summer Fun Without Underage Drinking

Keep your children safe and healthy – Be aware of the consequences of underage drinking

Sunny weather and flowers blooming are sure signs that the school year is drawing to a close. With the end of the school year comes graduation, celebration, and excitement for summer. For many this means parties, barbecues, and lots of family time. This summer some parents might think that hosting their children’s drinking events in their home will keep teens out of trouble. While their intentions may be good, this reasoning has serious consequences for parents, teens, and the community.

The truth is simple: Alcohol is dangerous for young people, and underage drinking can lead to drunk driving, higher risk for adult substance use disorder and accidental injury or death. Parents who host underage drinking put teens in their community at risk, and themselves at risk for serious legal repercussions.

  • Research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) supports that adults giving teens alcohol makes it more likely they will drink again and in higher quantities.

  • According to the NIAAA, youth who drink are more likely to be involved in a physical or sexual assault as either victim or assailant after drinking than those who do not drink. More than 4,300 youth die each year due to underage drinking according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Always have fun non-alcoholic beverages as options at your summer events for adults who don't drink and for underage teens or young adults. Parents set an example for their children’s alcohol consumption and drinking norms, and hosting underage drinking is one way that parents put teens in their community at risk.

Keep lines of communication open and talk to your teen about the dangers of underage drinking. If you suspect your teen is engaging in risky drinking behaviors, start a dialogue about it or contact a school guidance counselor.

To find out how you can become involved locally, contact Jamie Lovley, Substance Use Prevention Coordinator at Penobscot Bay Community Health Partnerships provides substance use prevention services in Knox and Waldo Counties, and is a division of the Penobscot Bay YMCA’s Community Health Promotion Department.

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