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Graduation parties should always be alcohol free

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Patty Gregory, Seven Counties Services

 May and June are times for proms, graduations and celebrations. 

It’s a very exciting time in a teen’s life as they transition from high school into the “adult” world. 

These last few days of high school should be filled with good memories and good times.  But good can turn to bad, and often worse, when alcohol becomes involved. 

Safe celebrations mean alcohol-free celebrations. Many schools promote alcohol-free alternatives such as Project Prom and Project Graduation which have become popular in some areas. 

Project Graduation offers adult-supervised and alcohol-free activities in lieu of student-run events with alcohol or drugs. Events often last through the night and are held in hotels or community centers. 

Unfortunately, there remain many parent-sponsored graduation parties where underage drinking is allowed. 

Some parents feel this is a “rite of passage”, or that it’s okay as long as they are there to supervise. But serving or supplying alcohol to a minor is illegal, no matter how adults wish to think about it, and there is good reason for underage drinking laws.  

Alcohol is a mood-altering drug that contributes to poor judgment and coping skills.  Underage drinking can lead to violence, rape, injury, alcohol poisoning or even death.

Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) recommends parents and other adults do the following to help keep kids safe during prom and graduation:

* Have regular and open communication with your teens about drugs and alcohol.

* Discuss rules and expectations for proms and graduations.

* Do not supply drugs or alcohol to your teens.

* Know who is driving and what the plans are.

* Don’t rent hotel rooms for your teens.

* Communicate with other parents about their expectations for proms and graduations. 

* Stay up until your teens are home.

* Supervise and be involved at proms and graduations.

Believe it or not parents, your kids do listen to what you have to say.  You are the biggest influencer in their lives. You can help them build good and lasting memories while staying safe this prom and graduation season.

Get more information by contacting the Seven Counties Services Regional Prevention Center at 502-589-8600 or visit www.sevencounties.org and click on “Prevention” under the “Our Services” tab.

If you suspect or know your teen is using alcohol or other drugs, contact the Early Intervention Program (EIP), an assessment and educational program for youth 13-17 years of age, atcphillips@sevencounties.org or call Craig Phillips at 502-589-8600.