Just what are these adults who provide alcohol to underage youth
thinking? First, it’s illegal to provide alcohol to minors. Second,
it’s morally reprehensible, undermining the efforts of many to keep
our youth safe.
Just what are these adults who provide alcohol to underage youth thinking? First, it’s illegal to provide alcohol to minors. Second, it’s morally reprehensible, undermining the efforts of many to keep our youth safe.
Adults buying alcohol for minors ignore that Gilroy struggles with the highest risk indicators in the county. Our teens report they abuse alcohol and drugs more than the average California teen. The number of pregnant and parenting teens in our schools soared this year. Our youth in the justice system have the highest recidivism rate in the county because they can’t stay clean and sober. We lack the resources to meet the high need for treatment on demand. And yet, teens report to the Dispatch that, though liquor outlets won’t sell to them, they easily obtain alcohol through adults who buy it for them.
What possibly motivates an adult to buy alcohol at the request of a teen hanging out in front of a liquor store? And what motivates a parent to let their own or other teens drink at their home? They aren’t 21, so letting them drink at home because “at least they’re safe and we know where they are” is simply stupid and puts their children at risk.
What’s offensive is that while they fool themselves into thinking as long as what they do in their own home hurts no one else, they also put the community at risk for all of the problems that underage drinking causes: auto accidents from drinking and driving, increased risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections because of reduced inhibitions, academic failure, and a greater risk of dependence on alcohol into adulthood. Who does such harm to their neighbors and the community they call home?
Perhaps local youth organizations that work to make Gilroy a better a place can conduct undercover sting operations in conjunction with the police department. Approach adults and ask them to buy you alcohol. Let’s bust the ones who do and fill the court dockets in South County with adults who are contributing to the delinquency of minors. We need to send a message that this kind of behavior on the part of adults is absolutely unacceptable.
Also, residents whose neighbors are having parties where underage drinking is taking place should call the police.
Finally, with the onset of graduation parties and summer days, we advise parents to become familiar with what’s being marketed to their teens by the alcoholic beverage industry. Jell-O shots are sold at your local 7-Eleven; alcohol-laden drinks are packaged just like the popular energy drinks; and vodka is combined with grape, raspberry, watermelon and other fruity flavors teens prefer; Jack Daniels now markets six packs of hard lemonade and punch.
More than one-third of alcohol-related crashes of victims younger than 21 occur between April and June. Our message must be loud and clear: No underage drinking, and we must mean it to keep our youth and our community safe.