West Haven Prevention Council Reminds Parents to Help Teens Celebrate Responsibly
As graduation and summer approach, the West Haven Prevention Council (WHPC) are reminding adults that it's against the law to allow anyone under age 21 to possess alcohol or cannabis on their premises. Connecticut passed its Social Host or “House Party” Law in 2012, making the property owner fully responsible for any underage drinking on their property regardless of if they were aware of it. This law was expanded in 2021 to include cannabis. You can learn more about the CT Social Host Law at: https://portal.ct.gov/OPM/CJ-JJYD/Program-Underage-Drink/SettheRulesCT-About
Some tips for parents this summer:
Plan plenty of engaging substance-free games and activities in advance
Keep the party small. Make sure that there is at least one adult for every 10 teens - you can recruit your neighbors or other parents for help!
Stick to the guest list. Don't allow "party crashers" to join in!
Have set party rules. A few are non-negotiable: absolutely no alcohol or drug use, leave the lights on at all times, and make sure nobody leaves the party and tried to re-enter.
Have LOTS of non-alcoholic beverages and snacks available.
Be watchful, but don't hover. Find a discrete place to oversee the party where you can ensure safety without getting in the way of the fun.
WHPC’s recent student survey found that 12.8% of West Haven students surveyed have drank alcohol at home; in roughly one-third of those incidents an adult was present. The
Hub, the designated Behavioral Health Action Organization (RBHAO) for Southwestern Connecticut, says talking to your child about the dangers of alcohol is one of the most effective ways to curb underage drinking. In fact, over 80% of teens cite their parents as the main reason they choose not to drink.
According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) when parents create supportive and nurturing environments, children make better decisions. Though it may not always seem like it, children really hear their parents’ concerns, which is why it’s important that parents discuss the risks of using alcohol and other drugs. You can access resources to start those conversations with your child at: https://www.samhsa.gov/talk-they-hear-you/parent-resources