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To the Editor:
Parents play a major role in their child’s decision to drink or not to drink alcohol underage. Contrary to what many might believe, adolescents do listen to their parents when it comes to issues such as drinking and smoking.  However, when the messages are conveyed clearly, consistently, and with authority, teenagers are more likely to listen.

Personal & Family Counseling Services continues in its partnership with the Drug Free Action Alliance bringing the “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most:  Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” public awareness campaign to the communities of Tuscarawas and Carroll counties.  This campaign is committed to providing information about the health risks and the legal consequences of providing alcohol to youth.  This campaign also encourages parents and the community to send a unified message during the prom and graduation season.  As a community, we would like our unified message to include:  teen alcohol consumption is not acceptable; it is illegal, unsafe and unhealthy for anyone underage 21 to drink alcohol.

If you host a party where alcohol is available to underage youth you also can face a $1000 fine and up to six months in jail.  Hosting can pose serious health risks and legal ramifications for everyone involved.  Parents should understand that taking away the car keys does not solve all problems related to underage drinking.  There are many other health-related consequences of youth consuming alcohol to include negative effects on brain development, increased sexual activity, deviant behavior, and an increased risk of becoming alcohol dependent later in life.

Adults providing alcohol to underage youth sends a mixed message and only adds to a teenager’s confusion about the acceptability of drinking.  It also sends the message to teens that they do not have to obey the law.  Teenagers appreciate when their parents set boundaries and establish expectations that are enforced.  Let’s be unified in our message and host fun, alcohol-free parties to show our youth that we care about their future and that alcohol is not necessary to celebrate and have a good time.

Jodi Salvo
Coordinator, Takin’ It To The Schools
Personal & Family Counseling Services

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