(C. Proxmire, July 7, 2013)
“Parents who host lose the most.” That is the message sent home by the South East Oakland Coalition in their push to curb underage drinking and drug use at parent-sanctioned parties over the summer.
According to Carly Podzikowski, the Director for the SEOC, nearly 12,000 letters were sent home to parents at the end of the school year letting them know their responsibility in making sure minors do not drink while in their care. The letters explained:
“As part of the ‘Parents who host, lose the most – don’t be a party to teenage drinking’ campaign, we urge you to join in strongly supporting zero tolerance for underage drinking and illegal drug use. Here’s what you can do:
- ~Keep and open line of communication with your teen, but be firm in the ‘no alcohol use before 21’ message you give your student.
- ~Never host or provide alcohol to anyone under 21. It’s illegal, unsafe and unhealthy.
- ~Don’t allow your student to host or attend a party that is unsupervised by adults. Call the adult in charge of the party your teen attends. Make sure you are in agreement about what the adult supervision will be.
- ~If you drink as an adult, be a good role model in your own use of alcohol. Your actions speak louder than words.”
“Directors of Coalitions throughout Oakland County have heard more and more over the years that parents are, in fact hosting parties with alcohol at graduations and we would like for them to understand the consequences of supplying or serving minors,” Podzikowski said.
“Recently we have been holding small group discussions with parents to alert them of the dangers and the consequences of hosting underage parties. Most parents are unaware that there are consequences at all.”
The consequences can be steep. Adults who provide alcohol or host parties serving alcohol to people under age 21 can face up to 60 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. There are even harsher penalties if the under-aged drinker is in an accident while drunk driving. On top of it, there is also the danger of having unsafe behavior on a parent’s conscience.
The SEOC serves Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, and Royal Oak Township, and a portion of Oak Park, with a focus on “supporting substance abuse prevention efforts in our schools, as well as providing direction and alternatives to risky behaviors for youth and families. The Southeast Oakland Coalition continually strives to achieve systemic environmental changes that will help shape an improved future for all.”
In addition to informing parents about the risks involved in hosting underage drinking, the SEOC hosts safe nights for youth and other drug-free activities, and operates a “sticker shock” campaign where they labeled multi-packs of alcohol at neighborhood stores to remind clerks to check IDs.
For more information on the Parents that Host Lose the Most campaign, visit https://www.drugfreeactionalliance.org/parents-who-host. The SEOC’s website is http://www.seoaklandcoalition.org/index.html, and their Facebook Page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Southeast-Oakland-Coalition