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UNE's Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition promotes safe prom and graduation tips

posted May 3, 2010, 12:04 PM by Sherri DeFilipp

It’s prom and graduation time - a time for celebration. Unfortunately, too often these celebrations have become rites of passage involving alcohol. One risky decision involving alcohol can result in tragedy for not only the young person, but for his or her family, friends, and our entire community.
In a 2009 survey, 60% of high school students told us they could easily get alcohol if they wanted to. We all have a stake in keeping alcohol away from teens. Kids who believe alcohol is hard to get, think they would be caught by their parents or the police if they did drink, or feel people in their community disapprove of underage drinking are less likely to drink - and more likely to have a safer night.

How can we work together to keep our kids safe from alcohol-related injuries? Here is some advice and requests from the Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition at the University of New England:

• Clerks and wait staff: be especially diligent about carding during prom and graduation nights, and report any underage drinking or furnishing concerns to the local police.
• Law enforcement: our local police and sheriff departments have adopted strict policies regarding underage drinking, and have scheduled underage drinking details for prom night to search for and respond to any parties or other concerns.
• Community members: help keep kids safe by calling your local police department with any underage drinking concerns, your call can be anonymous, and your tip could save a life.
• Parents: help teens plan a safe night by not serving or allowing alcohol at any party you are hosting. Although 1/3 of underage drinking deaths are due to auto crashes, the other    2/3 are due to injuries from alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, drowning and assaults. Taking away the keys does not make underage drinking safe.
• Seniors: celebrate safely. Tell us what we can do to help you have a night to remember, for all the right reasons.

Maine Liquor and Liability Laws - It Can Cost You!

Furnishing Liquor to a Minor Allowing minors other than your own children to drink alcohol in your home (even if you do not supply the alcohol) is a criminal offense that may result in fines from $500 to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence from 6-12 months. If an injury or death occurs, the person responsible for furnishing the alcohol may be charged with a felony.

Maine Liquor Liability Act A non-licensed, social host (any person who does not hold a Maine Liquor License) can be sued for providing liquor to a minor. Damages may be awarded for property damage, bodily injury, or death caused by the consumption of liquor served. The limit on awards is $250,000 plus unlimited medical expenses.

Let’s work together to provide a safe, alcohol-free season of celebrations for our sons and daughters. For more tips on keeping kids healthy & safe contact the Coastal Healthy Communities Coalition at the University of New England www.une.edu/chcc or go to Maineparents.net