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Guest opinion: Teens and holiday drinking

Holidays can provide teenagers access to alcohol

The following is an opinion piece from the San Ramon Valley Alcohol Policy Coalition


Patty Hoyt of the San Ramon Valley Alcohol Policy Coalition warns that holiday parties can offer teens access to alcohol.
The holiday season is a wonderful time of year when families come together for celebrations. The break in school gives youth an opportunity for unstructured time away from the rigors of the classroom.

It can also be a time when teens encounter situations that tempt them to make poor decisions regarding underage drinking. It is especially problematic when we add in the propensity of some adults to promote alcohol-included events as a way to mark Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other cultural holidays.

The presence of alcohol at family gatherings often results in easy access for minors. Teens report they often get alcohol from friends or family and many teens cite other people's homes as the common setting for youth consumption of alcohol.

In the most recent California Healthy Kids Survey of San Ramon Valley Unified School District students, 25 percent of 11th graders indicated they had at least one drink in the last 30 days and 14 percent indicated they participated in binge drinking (5 or more drinks in a row).

Parents need to be reminded that it is against the law to provide alcohol to youth.

The city of San Ramon, town of Danville and community of Alamo are all covered by Social Host Ordinances that make it unlawful to host a gathering where alcohol is provided to anyone under the age of 21. Violation of this ordinance can result in fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Let's all do our part to make sure that we all have a safe and happy holiday season.

Provided by the San Ramon Valley Alcohol Policy Coalition. For more information on the topic of reducing underage drinking, contact Patty Hoyt at 837-0505 ext. 417.

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