Underage drinking is growing at epidemic proportions in the United States. High school administrations and parents across the country are dealing head on with this issue every day, some choosing to turn a blind eye to the problem and others choosing to educate their teens on the dangers of drinking. Parents should realize that the problem of underage drinking can be diminished by educating their children about responsible alcohol drinking.
High schools across America have a “zero tolerance” policy for drinking at school functions and as Prom season comes into full swing, many schools will plan programs reminding students that alcohol and Prom do not mix. Many schools have “SADD” programs, “a peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, teen violence, and teen suicide” (Student’s Against Destructive Decisions, www.sadd.com).
Many high schools have a “mock crash” to show students the dangers of drinking and driving on Prom night. Others even go as far as having students sign a “sober contract”, an agreement to remain alcohol and drug free during Prom. To combat the pre-Prom parties, many schools have implemented the use of a breathalyzer at the door, turning away those who have been drinking (A breathalyzer is used to test someone's alcohol level in their blood.) These are all preventative measures to discourage prom go-ers from using alcohol before and during prom. And even if you were to “get away” with it, alcohol consumption can turn what should be one of your high school year’s most memorable events into one of your most horrific ones…if you can remember it at all.
And what about after Prom? The legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years old. Some young people find this statement a bit confusing and difficult to understand, but let’s break it down into simpler terms. THE LEGAL DRINKING AGE IN THE UNITED STATES IS 21 YEARS OLD! That means that if you are under 21 years old and you are consuming an alcoholic beverage, you are committing a CRIME! Yes, to all of you underage young adults rolling your eyes, thinking its “no big deal”, it is! Whether it’s at a party in your parent’s home or at a friend’s house, drinking underage is against the law.
The only preventative measure in underage drinking is to be responsible and choose not to drink. Prom is a time to celebrate. For most seniors, it is the last hoorah before Graduation. It should be an enjoyable and memorable event to conclude your high school experience. It is an exciting time not only for you, but for your family and school community but it can turn dangerous when alcohol is involved. In the end, underage drinking is a choice. For Prom 2012, make the right choice for yourself. Be responsible, be fun and be alcohol free.