Wednesday, December 19, 2012

EDITORIAL: Making Parents Responsible for Giving Liquor to Kids is a Good Thing

by Elaine Santos
After the formation of the Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition and the Putnam County Drug and Alcohol Task Force, the Putnam County Social Host Liability Law was the first of its kind to pass  in New York State because it was adopted by every town in our County. This had not been done before.
The consequences for adults for not complying with the law could be: one year in jail, a 3,000 fine, and reimbursement for law enforcement services.
One problem related to the law that the Coalition has worked extensively to rectify is that many parents simply do not know it is a law. And while common sense states that providing alcohol or drugs to minors is strictly prohibited by not only law, but by ethical and moral standards, some partying parents who want to be "cool" still break the law.
In order to spread the word on the law, the Coalition has created innumerable environmental strategies such as public service announcements, movie theater PSA’s, written op-eds, put up billboards, and given presentations to parents at prom time to let them know serving alcohol or drugs to a child that is not theirs is not something the community approves. For our many presentations for parents, our local and County judges, our District Attorney, and law enforcement are on hand to answer any questions parents AND teens have about the law.
We definitely support the passage of a New York State Social Host Liability Law. In Putnam County, we have had six arrests since the law’s inception. It is embarrassing for the parent. It is all over the paper.  And it’s an expensive legal fine.

Imagine how many lives could be saved if this was done Statewide?

About the Contributing Blogger
Elaine Santos is the Coalition Coordinator of Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition. The mission of the Putnam County Communities That Care Coalition is to build a safe and healthy family-oriented community, which includes reducing the use of harmful substances by our adolescents. Our coalition includes individuals from all sectors of the community who work together to reduce risk factors and strengthen protective factors through education, enforcement and policy initiatives.

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