April is National Alcohol Awareness Month and this year’s theme is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

Gov. Scott Walker has proclaimed April as Teenagers Drinking Alcohol Awareness Month for the state of Wisconsin.

Focus on Community and the Racine County Youth Coalition wants our community to be informed. Focus and RCYC is reminding Racine County residents that alcohol is the deadliest drug for America’s teenagers. A 16-year-old is more likely to die from an alcohol-related problem than any other cause.

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States. Addressing this issue requires a sustained and cooperative effort between parents, schools, colleges, community leaders and our youth.

Parents play a major role in their children’s choices about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. In a recent national survey of parents and teens by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 33 percent of teen partygoers have been to parties where teens were drinking alcohol, smoking pot, or using cocaine, Ecstasy or prescription drugs while a parent was present. By age 17, 46 percent of teens have been at such parties where parents were present.

'Parents Who Host Lose The Most'

"Parents Who Host Lose The Most" is an awareness campaign to remind the Racine community that teen alcohol consumption is not acceptable. Here are the facts:

• There are many health-related consequences of youth consuming alcohol including negative effects on brain development, deviant behavior including stealing and skipping school and a greater risk of becoming alcohol-dependent later in life.

• Parents who give alcohol to their teen’s friends under any circumstances, even in their own homes, are breaking the law.

• Parents who knowingly allow a person younger than 21 to remain in their home or on their property while consuming or possessing alcoholic beverages can be prosecuted and everything associated with such a violation can be confiscated, including personal property.

• Parents can be sued if they give alcohol to anyone younger than 21 and they in turn hurt someone, hurt themselves or damage property.

Party guidelines

Underage use of alcohol is a serious problem that too often leads to harmful consequences for youth and their families. Parents can protect themselves and their teens by following these guidelines when hosting parties for their children:

• Host safe, alcohol-free activities and events for youth.

• Refuse to supply alcohol to children or allow drinking in your home or on your property.

• Be at home when your teenager has a party.

• Make sure your teenager’s friends do not bring alcohol into your home.

• Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at youth events.

• Report underage drinking.

For more information or to request a free yard sign to help spread the "Parents Who Host Lose the Most" message, call 262-632-6200 or go to www.focusracine.org.

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