Is providing alcohol to minors worth the hefty risk?

By Ryne Turke on April 23, 2016 at 1:03pm

In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, students and parents are being reminded about the risk and consequences of hosting parties involving underage drinking.

Jacksonville High School Counselor Sherri McLaughlin and Jacksonville Wells Center representative Stacey Helmick, members of the Partnership to Prevent Substance Misuse coalition,  spoke about this issue Monday on WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program.

Helmick says Illinois Social Host Law of 2013 gives a strong warning to parents about to host a party with alcohol for underage students.

“Adults who knowingly permit underage drinking or provide alcohol to minors can be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. If the underage drinking results in a serious bodily injury or death, adults can be convicted of a Class 4 felony. This carries a penalty of one year in prison and a $25,000 fine,” says Helmick.   :24

McGlaughlin says she has dealt with situations at JHS involving students and underage drinking. McGlaughlin notes JHS participates in the Illinois Youth Survey each year to get a better understanding of substance abuse with teenagers.

McGlaughlin shared some tips from the Illinois Liquor Control Commission that parents should pass along to their children.

“Tell your children that the alcohol in your house is off limits. Get to know the homes your child is going to go to. Let them know what your rules are. Help children avoid danger situations. Get involved with activities where a child can have a good time and socialize with people, without the use of alcohol or other substances,” says McGlaughlin.    :28

A Town Meeting will address underage drinking issues in greater detail later this year.

For more information on the topic, contact the Wells Center Prevention Department at 243-1871.