Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Underage drinking is not OK

I was part of a panel today talking about underage drinking, presented to a group of parents. We discussed its effects and its prevention, my portion was the effects of alcohol on the adolescent brain.

I led with a comment about an incident written about in the Chicago Tribune today. A limousine driver reported underage drinking among some teens he was driving for homecoming. He turned down a payoff attempt and did the right thing. My feeling is that he should get an award:
Limousine driver Leonel Cesar says he was just doing his job when he called police to report that a group of Highland Park teenagers tried to smuggle booze into his "party bus" on homecoming night

Later in the article was a comment about the “Safe Rides” program:
Similar debate surrounds the Safe Rides program in New Trier Township, which allows student volunteers to pick up their intoxicated peers from parties, no questions asked.

I will only contribute to the “debate” by relating a recent death here in Lake County (I did write about it shortly after it happened). I closed my part of the panel with a mention of the incident, as well. A young man (18 years old) was driven home after a party involving at least one “drinking game”. The young man later died of an alcohol overdose, his ride, while not part of the “Safe Ride” program, certainly did not have a safe outcome.

Underage drinking is not OK.

Don’t take chances. Make good choices.


Ellyn said...

I was saddened, - but not surprised - to see that some of the parents took umbrage with the driver's decision. At least one parent is considering a law suit! It's obvious that young people don't learn to try to 'buy' their way out of bad behavior ("you will be tipped") in a vacuum.

Dalton Smith said...

In the "Safe Ride" program, they are receiving transportation BACK after they have consumed alcohol. How can you POSSIBLY take offense to such a program? Your other option is to force them to:
A. Attempt to drive themselves back from the event (Which, I hope anybody would admit, is MUCH more risky than anything arising from the Safe Ride program...)
B. Attempt to get someone else to drive them back from the event, quite possibly a stranger (Also, a very dangerous proposition...)

I would also like to point out that the death in the story you related to the issue was, in fact, NOT directly correlated to the program. He had already consumed the alcohol by the time he received the ride so, "Safe Ride" or not, he would have died from alcohol poisoning.

Dr. Richard Keller said...

The latter is my point as well.

Underage drinking is not OK and nothing should be supported that seems to condone it.

The "C" option is not to drink if you are underage (that point strongly reinforced to the teen), but if you do, call a parent or someone that can be responsible for your well-being (life).