Excitement is in the air during the spring season! High school students are getting ready for major life moments, taking steps towards adulthood as they shop for prom dresses and suits, schedule hair appointments, and make post-prom plans–and that’s just in April! As we move into May, high school seniors prepare for graduation, senior trips, and the next phase of their lives. Many are looking forward to spending one last summer with lifelong friends, before moving onto a new chapter–the last summer to make memories and have fun before big life changes.
With so many celebrations in store, it’s important that parents remember to avoid ‘social hosting’, that is, providing alcohol to underage youth. Even though alcohol is illegal for anyone under age 21, millions of teenagers get their hands on it every year. According to the 2019 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, which was administered to Berks County students, 64% of high school seniors reported consuming alcohol over the past year. People may be surprised to learn how those youth acquired alcohol: 29% reported that their parents provided it. Another 30% paid someone of legal age to buy it for them.
Most of the alcohol consumed by youth comes from of-age adults. But when adults supply alcohol to minors, they are not only undermining the parent-child relationship and harming the physical, mental, and developmental health of youth, they are also breaking the law. Furnishing alcohol to underage youth, also called ‘social hosting,’ is illegal in every state. In Pennsylvania, people found guilty of social hosting risk a misdemeanor and minimum fines of $1,000. In many communities, the adult host can be held liable for any injuries or damages caused by underage drinkers.
During this transition time in your child’s life, don’t view alcohol as a rite of passage for your developing teen.
Parents Who Host Lose the Most is a public health media campaign designed by Prevention Action Alliance to remind parents that furnishing alcohol to underage youth is illegal and unsafe. By decreasing their access to alcohol, we can reduce the likelihood that teens will drink and therefore suffer the health effects that come from underage drinking.
Visit Council on Chemical Abuse for more information and helpful resources. https://cocaberks.org/parents-who-host-lose-the-most/