3 area teens pushing education about teenage drinking

February 19, 2013 1:45:47 PM PST
The numbers can be startling, the age when most children try alcohol for the first time, on average 13 for girls, 11 for boys. And sometimes the only word of warning a teenager might hear, is from another teenager. And that voice can be an effective tool in fighting abuse.

These teens are asking the local liquor store owner if they can post a flyer that says underage drinking starts with an adult and an excuse.

Jennifer Gentile , Michael Garcia, and Michaela Beck are students at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, Long Island. They're on a mission to teach parents about the social host law.

"If a teenager hosts a party without their parents home or with them home, the parents are the ones that get in trouble for it," said Gentile.

They go around town putting up flyers and putting stickers on pizza boxes , a surprising but smart way to reach families.

"Hopefully when they're at home they'll see the sticker and open up the box- When they're having pizza with their kids they can talk about these issues," adds Garcia.

Underage drinking is a major cause of motor vehicle crashes, the leading cause of death for young people age 15 to 20.

It also raises the risk of suicide and sexual assault. The social host law varies state to state.

In New York unless it's your child, any adult who allows underage drinking in their home faces criminal and civil charges- even if you didn't supply the alcohol.

"A lot of times parents go away and they don't know what s going on in the house and they don't understand the liability," said Kristin Stea, a mother of three.

The teens recently won a $425 grant from the Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island to help them continue to spread the message

LINK: http://www.ehsli.org/

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