Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Let's Talk About Prom

Written by Joy Spencer | joy.spencer@oregon.gov

It’s prom season, and that means it’s a good time for parents to check in and make sure they are communicating their expectations about underage drinking to their teens. Unless you’ve explicitly talked about the issue, don’t make the mistake of assuming your child knows what you expect or that you would disapprove.

Prom culture has definitely changed over the years...with everything from "promposals" to dance floor selfies. However, one thing remains the same - teens want to have a good time. So, whether you're a concerned parent or a teen who's counting down the days until the anticipated event, these prom night statistics are something to think about. 

Teens are more likely to be involved in a car accident during April and June
Accidents are the number one cause of death for young people aged 12 to 19, and those involving motor vehicles are the most common. Statistics show roughly a third of alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June, which is considered the peak of prom season.

Drugs and alcohol more common on prom night
For many students, prom is one of the highlights of their high school career but for others, it's an invitation to get intoxicated. An 2014 survey from AAA of teens aged 16 to 19 found that 41 percent said it was likely that they or their friends would use drugs or alcohol on prom night.

Teens underestimate danger of driving while intoxicated
Despite the fact that more teens are involved in fatal traffic accidents related to alcohol during prom season, the majority of high school aged students don't seem to recognize how dangerous it actually is. A survey of nearly 2,300 juniors and seniors found that just 20 percent believe being on the roads on prom night is dangerous. Six percent of those surveyed admitted to driving under the influence after prom. Even though most teens learn about the perils of driving under the influence during Driver's Ed, their fear of getting into trouble with their parents appears to outweigh the risk. According to AAA, 84 percent of teens surveyed said their friends would be more likely to get behind the wheel after drinking than to call home for a ride (if they believed they'd get in trouble for using alcohol). Another 22 percent said they'd ride in a car with someone who was impaired instead of calling their parents. 

Binge drinking on prom night
Having just one or two drinks is bad enough, but the majority of teens are downing substantially more on prom night. According to 54 percent of teens who admitted to drinking during or after the prom said they consumed four or more alcoholic beverages.

Peer pressure contributes to drug and alcohol use
Feeling accepted by your friends often leads teens to do things they normally wouldn't, including drinking or using drugs on prom night. Data from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Chrysler found that nearly 75 percent of teens felt pressured to use alcohol while another 49 percent said their friends encouraged them to try drugs during prom.

Good news...your influence still counts
Once kids hit the teenage years, they seem to tune out just about everything their parents have to say, but moms and dads can get through with a little persistence. According to another survey from MADD, teens whose parents view underage drinking as totally unacceptable are 80 percent less likely to drink compared to their peers whose parents are more lenient about it.

What are some things you can do to help your teen have a fun but safe time at prom?
  • Discuss rules for the celebrating: your own rules, the school rules, and the consequences for violating the rules.
  • Ask your teen for a complete itinerary for the evening, including where they'll be going before, during and after prom. If you have graduates, make sure you know where and when they will be celebrating. 
  • Take inventory of the alcohol in your home and secure it, if needed. In a survey by the American Medical Association, two out of three teens aged 13-18 said that it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without parents knowing about it. One-third responded that it is easy to obtain alcohol from their own parents knowingly, which increases to 40 percent when it is from a friend's parent. And one in four teens have attended a party where minors were drinking in front of parents. 
  • If you are hosting a post-prom or grad party, remember it is illegal to serve alcohol to minors. Some parents feel that hosting a house party where alcohol is served to minors is safer because they can control it. Allowing these parties is illegal, even with other parents’ consent. Hosts may be held responsible for consequences that result. Injuries and car accidents after such parent-hosted parties remind us that no parent can completely control the actions of intoxicated youth, during or after a party. And the main message children hear is that drinking illegally is okay. 
  • If your teen is riding in a limo, check the company’s policy on allowing alcohol in the vehicle. 
  • Do not rent hotel rooms or vacation rental properties for your teens. 
  • Communicate with other parents about prom-graduation plans. 
  • Reinforce that they should get help if they, or their friends are in trouble. Be available to provide a timely and safe ride home if needed. Let them know that they should call you if they need a ride home or get into a situation they know isn’t safe -- no matter what time it is, no matter where they are. 
  • Remind your teen that everyone has a camera these days. With security cameras, phone cameras and video cams everywhere, it is important your child realizes that they shouldn't do anything that might cause them embarrassment by ending up on Facebook or YouTube. Unfortunately, what ends up on the internet and social media, stays on the internet and can be shared with hundreds of people very quickly. Not to mention their future plans for college could be jeopardized. A college acceptance can be revoked for illegal behavior and for getting expelled from high school.
Just remember, if your teen breaks any rules on prom night make sure that they trust that he or she can call you, and that you will come and get him or her no matter what, with no questions asked. Assuring them that that his or her safety is what is most important in the end.


Friday, September 18, 2015

It's Tailgating Season...Remember to Pass the Keys!

Fall has arrived, and that means it's football season! Make sure that your game day includes a plan to designate a driver and Pass the Keys at tailgating events and parties.
Nearly 10,000 people lose their lives each year in alcohol-related crashes. DUII arrests increase during football season, and sports fans should be aware that the Oregon State Police, local sheriffs and police departments plan to have extra traffic patrols on game days to keep the roads safe for fans.
"Many public safety personnel are focused on keeping our roads safe for all fans through an exciting season of football,” says Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “But it is each football fan’s job to make the game day experience safe for your family and friends, and the many fans that share congested roads. Let's have a record winning season by designating a driver and passing the keys."
"Let's have a record winning season on the road by designating a driver and passing the keys." 

Before attending tailgate parties or other events that may include alcohol, decide on a strategy to keep your celebrations safe and responsible. Some ideas include:
  • Choose an MVP – a sober, designated driver – before the party even begins.
  • If you don’t have a designated driver, get a sober friend to drive you home; call a cab or family member to come get you; or, if possible, stay where you are for the night.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Eat, take breaks, alternate with non-alcoholic drinks and pace yourself. Stay hydrated.
  • Always buckle up – it’s still your best defense against drunk drivers. 

If you’re hosting a tailgate party:
  • Serve plenty of food and non-alcoholic beverages at the party. Always have soft drinks, juices and other non-alcoholic beverages available for those guests who are driving or choose not to drink. Remember that tailgating is an all-ages activity. Non-alcoholic options are especially important for football fans under 21.
  • Host your party like they do at the stadium: Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter is perfect for serving coffee and dessert.  
  • Plan ahead to get keys. Make sure to examine all of your guests before they leave. Keep in mind, you can be held legally responsible if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.  
  • A good party host is a sober host. Limiting your own alcohol intake will allow you to better determine if a guest is sober enough to drive at the end of the night. Or offer to drive guests home if they need it. Have the phone numbers of local cab companies on hand. 
  • Have a cab fare fund. Having available cash to pay cab fare for your guests if they need it reduces the stress on you. If you can’t afford to pay for it yourself, ask your guests to pitch in a few bucks on your invitation. Print the name of a local cab company on your invitation and ask your guests to program it into their mobile phones.

You can also help local law enforcement by reporting impaired drivers to 911, or Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).

OLCC, Oregon State Police, and Oregon Department of Transportation encourage adults 21 and over to make our teams proud by celebrating responsibly.

This campaign is funded in part through an educational award grant from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sláinte agus táinte!

Cheers to St. Patrick's Day  - a day when people around the world celebrate their Irish heritage, the color green, and the chance to have a fun time with friends and family!

Whether you are going out to celebrate at a local pub or hosting a party at home, remember to plan ahead to make sure that your day is full of lucky charms.

♣  If you plan on drinking, don’t drive! Protect yourself and others by having a designated driver and make sure everyone wears a seat belt.

♣  If you are the designated driver, watch out for intoxicated walkers who pay no attention to lights or crosswalks.

♣  Use public transportation or take a cab both to and from your location so you can avoid leaving your car in an unfamiliar place overnight.

♣  Thank your servers and bartenders! They have a responsibility to make sure that customers don’t drink too much.  If they take your drink away or offer to call you a cab – Thank them.  They are doing it because they are responsible and they want everyone to be safe.

♣  If going out with a group of friends, have everyone “buddy up” to make sure they get home safely.

♣  Stay hydrated and fed. Make sure you don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach (eat a corned beef sandwich!) and consume water or non-alcoholic beverages in between the green beer.

♣  If the party is at your house, have guests turn their keys in to you when they arrive. That way you can ensure that everyone has a safe ride home. But be prepared to let your guests stay the night as an alternative.

♣  Have phone numbers handy for a cab company and emergency contacts.

♣  Have plenty of food and snacks available so your guests aren’t drinking on an empty stomach.

Remember - good health and happiness are the real pot of gold!

Visit www.OregonLiquorSearch.com for store hours, directions, and available products.
 Liquor stores across the state will have normal business hours on St. Patrick’s Day.