Campaign started to prevent parents from serving alcohol at teen parties
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY —
Graduation and prom are just around the corner. That means teens will be headed to a lot of parties.
One organization is concerned about underage drinking at those parties.
The Alcohol & Addictions Resource Center in South Bend is kicking off a campaign to prevent just that.
It's called 'Parents Who Host Lose the Most: Don't be a Party to Underage Drinking."
It's a reminder that parents who allow underage drinking could face some serious legal problems.
"Parents who encourage or support hosting of parties where underage drinking is happening or allowed to happen is not helping kids make good choices,” said Becky Savage with 525 Foundation.
Savage's sons -- Jack and Nick -- died from a drug overdose after attending a house party two years ago.
They were underage and alcohol was also being served.
That's why she agreed to get involved in the 'Parents who Host Lose the Most Campaign.'
"We just want to bring awareness to that so that we can help support kids making good choices,” Savage said.
The campaign reminds parents of a Social Host law passed in Indiana in 2014.
"It makes it illegal to provide a place for alcohol consumption by minors to occur,” said Youth Services Director, Margaret Goldsmith.
St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says getting charged under that law could cost you thousands.
But it's not just money or a clean record parents stand to lose.
"Drinking alcohol destroys brain cells that do not regenerate and when a brain is forming, like in adolescence, it's really detrimental to a kids’ development,” said Goldsmith.
Cotter says many parents tell him they feel safer letting their kids drink at home because at least they won't be driving.
But Goldsmith says only 1 out of 6 accidents involving teens and alcohol also involve a car.
"There's suicides, drownings, just getting into fights, just risky behavior that they engage in because they're under the influence and they're not making good decisions,” Goldsmith said.
"The more we talk about issues that are out there and things that influence kids making poor choices, then the more lives we have the opportunity to save,” Savage said.
Goldsmith says the campaign kicks off in April because it's Alcohol Awareness Month. But she's hoping to spread the message all year long.
She designs her presentations with kids to make them more effective and have a greater impact.