The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

April 16, 2013

Providing alcohol to minors: Is it worth the risk?

Crystal Lawburgh
Gateway ImpACT Coalition

---- — With April being Alcohol Awareness Month and with prom and graduation quickly approaching, we want to remind the community that it is illegal to host underage drinking parties and to provide alcohol to persons under age 21.

Many well-meaning parents/adults think that it is enough to take away car keys at their teens’ parties so the teens can’t drink and drive. Parents/adults provide the alcohol or allow alcohol to be consumed based on the belief that it is a rite of passage, especially at prom and graduation parties.

Providing alcohol to a minor will result in a $500 fine and up to one year in jail. The Clinton County Social Host Ordinance, which was passed in February 2013, prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21 at gatherings where persons knowingly allow or permit the underage persons to drink alcoholic beverages on property they own or control. Any person convicted in violation of this ordinance shall be guilty of a simple misdemeanor and is subject to a penalty with a minimum of $65 and a maximum fine of $650 and/or jail time for up to 30 days.

Each year, approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. This includes about 1,900 deaths from car accidents, 1,600 homicides, 300 suicides, and hundreds of other deaths due to accidents like falls, burns and drowning. Statistics show that more teens are killed by alcohol than by all illegal drugs combined.

So is providing alcohol to minors really worth the risk?

Crystal Lawburgh,

Gateway ImpACT Coalition