2016-06-02 / Opinion

Help Teens Make Safe Choices

To the Editor:

With prom and graduation season upon us, we are approaching a fun and exciting time for students and their families. We want to urge you to do all that you can to make it a happy and safe time for our youth.

Each year, we lose far too many of our teenagers to motor vehicle crashes, with an increase in drug and alcohol-related traffic fatalities on prom and graduation weekends. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults between the ages of 15 and 19, and the reality is that many of those deaths are caused by teenage impaired or distracted driving. Please take the opportunity to help ensure the safety of your children and others by helping them make the right choices around impaired driving. You, along with proactive education and the deterrent efforts of law enforcement, are a key component to preventing these tragedies.

Here are some suggestions for a safe and enjoyable night: . Discuss drinking, drugs and risky behaviors and be specific about your expectations. Ask them how they plan to keep safe and avoid actions they will regret. Reinforce your belief in their ability to act responsibly.

.Determine who will be driving. Ask them to promise not to drink or use drugs and drive or get into a car with an impaired driver. If using a limousine service, obtain a clear agreement from the driver/company regarding their handling alcohol and drug use by teens. .Plan safe post prom and graduation activities. Organize supervised drug and alcohol free parties for teens. If your teen is going to another teen’s home, check with the parents to ensure that they will be present and will not allow drinking or drug use. .Do not host a party where you serve alcohol to underage youth. You can be held liable if a guest in your home drinks alcohol and harms themselves or others by driving under the influence. Even if you are not actively providing alcohol to underage drinkers, it is a dangerous choice to allow teen drinking parties in your home.

We have one goal in mind: keeping our young people safe. To that end, we are also asking our local businesses such as liquor stores, limo and cab companies, and hotels to assist in keeping our youth safe this prom and graduation season by not providing or allowing alcohol or drugs to be consumed in their establishments.

Please be our partners in this effort. Help us ensure that this time of celebration does not turn into a preventable tragedy.

Newport, Middletown,
Portsmouth, Tiverton & Little
Compton Prevention Coalitions

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