Don't be a party to teenage drinking.
The Department of Health Services has partnered with Prevention Action Alliance to sponsor Parents Who Host, Lose The Most, a campaign to educate communities and parents about the health and safety risks of serving alcohol at teen parties.
Adults can be criminally prosecuted for hosting teen alcohol parties and be liable for injuries and property damage that may result from providing alcohol to teens.
Adults play a big role in shaping young people's attitudes toward drinking
Prevention Action Alliance developed the Parents Who Host, Lose The Most campaign to encourage everyone, especially parents, to send a unified message that teen alcohol consumption is unhealthy, unsafe, and unacceptable.
According to the Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drug Use, 2016, Wisconsin's rate of drinking among high school students has decreased since 2003, but there is further work to be done.
Underage drinking is hazardous to health and safety
Children who drink alcohol are more likely to:
- Use drugs: Frequent binge drinkers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, including using other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. (SAMHSA)
- Get bad grades: Children who use alcohol have higher rates of academic problems and poor school performance compared with nondrinkers. (SAMHSA)
- Suffer death: Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, including 1,580 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 1,269 deaths from homicides. (CDC, NIAAA)
- Make bad decisions: Drinking lowers inhibitions and increases the chances that children will engage in risky behaviors or do something they will regret when they are sober. (SAMHSA)
- Have health problems: Young people who drink are more likely to have health issues such as depression and anxiety disorders. (SAMHSA)
Tips to avoid being a party to underage drinking
- Don't be afraid to be the bad guy. Taking a tough stand on alcohol use can help youth say no when they are pressured to drink by their friends.
- Talk with other adults about hosting alcohol-free youth events. Unity creates a tough, enforceable message.
- Set a positive example. If you host a party, always serve alternative non-alcoholic beverages and do not let anyone drink and drive.
- Stay home if a teen is a hosting a party in your home. Observe the activities and confiscate any alcohol that may be brought by party goers.
- Report underage drinking to the police promptly.
In Wisconsin, the Parents Who Host, Lose The Most campaign takes place from April through June, covering the prom and graduation seasons for high school students. Local coalitions apply to be part of the campaign. For more information about how to bring this campaign to your community, contact Chino Amah Mbah.
"Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don't be a party to teenage drinking" is a registered trademark of Prevention Action Alliance and is used with permission.