April is alcohol awareness month and some of the residents of the greater Boston area are celebrating in style. In keeping with the trends that note alcohol and other drug problems developing in younger people, two communities experienced major incidents of underage substance use.
In Hamilton, a town known as the home of General George Patton and the center of the polo and equestrian community, 65 kids were charged with being minors in possession at a party hosted at one of the local riding stables.
Small bedroom communities such as Hamilton rarely have more than a few police officers on each shift so it is rare for them to take on such a big bust. This time, the Hamilton police called in reinforcements from a number of neighboring communities and detained all of the kids at the party until their parents could come and pick them up. This unprecedented joint operation involving police from numerous communities may be a new standard that might serve notice for the kids in the small towns.
On the south shore, a parent thought she was doing a favor for her kids when she hosted a drinking party in her home in Hingham. This is in spite of a lot of recent publicity about the risks of the Social Host Liability Law. 30 kids were busted at this party and the parent will be facing charges herself. It is difficult to determine exactly how many kids were at the party as the report states that a number of them fled out the back door when the police arrived and many had already driven home. If the concept of a bunch of drunk teenagers driving through a small bedroom community (with narrow, poorly lit, windy roads) late at night does not concern you it should.
In addition to the ever increasing penalties of drunk driving, the statistics on drunk driving deaths are a continued concern. Although drunk driving deaths in this country have been substantially reduced within the past decade, we still lose over 10,000 people a year, many of them youngsters.
Let’s keep our kids alive and healthy. There is lots of information available. Check it out and talk to your kids. Don’t turn them into a statistic.
National initiative to reduce underage alcohol use: Alcohol Free Children
Useful web site for kids: The Cool Spot