Florida Teen Drinking: The Party’s Over

Posted on March 16, 2009

St. Johns County has launched a new campaign to stop underage drinking.

Just on the edge of spring break, “The Party’s Over” was announced by St. Johns County, south and west of Jacksonville by Sheriff David Shoar. Teens will be able to text in anonymously to report anyone who is drinking and under the age of 21. The campaign will be plastered on billboards, along with the numbers.

Underage drinking has gotten out of hand, Shoar says, and for some reason the rates are higher in St. Johns than Duval County where Jacksonville is located.

The death of two teens in Orangedale in January is blamed on an open house party where alcohol was served. A 14-year-old came within losing her life at a house party after she drank too much. Luckily some other kids saw her condition and got her to a hospital.

In a 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, 43.3 percent of high school students in the area said they had used alcohol in the last 30 days. A similar survey of Duval County teens, where Jacksonville is located found 34.4 percent.

Let’s be clear – this campaign is also intended to scare parents who think that they can safely supervise teens drinking in their home. They cannot, but they can lose their home if a teen is harmed or killed. That’s quite a price to pay for being the “cool” parent. Zero Tolerance is the message loud and clear to parents. Period.

As skilled Jacksonville personal injury attorneys at Farah & Farah, we would expect to see some lawsuits result from incidents similar to the ones mentioned above. However, the goal is not to arrest underage kids for alcohol possession or sue someone for a bunch of money; instead, we must counsel underage kids about the dangers of alcohol and addiction.

“We’re not giving up on our kids. It just can’t happen. We have to do everything that we can to send the right message,” says Shoar.

Somehow when kids know we are watching, they get the message.

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