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When the party gets started, the DCSO Party Patrol is out

 
By Lynne Marsala Basche

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) and the Douglas County Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition have teamed up to ask for help preventing teen substance use and the potential for teen-related DUI crashes and deaths. The Party Patrol will be in force during breaks and holidays when the likelihood of kids partying increases.

With goals to curb underage drinking and substance abuse and educate adults about the dangers of illegal drinking and substance use, as well as the consequences of providing alcohol or marijuana to minors, the Party Patrol is a county-wide initiative with DCSO asking for the community’s help by reporting teen parties.

The frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain that processes reasoning and understanding, does not fully develop until the late 20s or early 30s, and while some kids may look like adults, they cannot think like adults. It is not uncommon for a crowd mentality to take over at parties, which leads to kids not thinking logically.

Often, kids do not think about “what if” scenarios and the life-changing consequences that could occur. Whether charged with a petty offense (for possessing alcohol, marijuana or a non-prescribed narcotic), a felony (for committing a crime) or DUI manslaughter or murder charges, lives would be altered. In addition to being criminally charged, schools may also take action by way of dismissing a student-athlete from a team, rescinding college recommendations or expulsion.

It is also possible for adults and homeowners to face civil or criminal charges of endangering the welfare of a child or contributing to the delinquency of a minor if alcohol is served to teenagers at their home.

While it is legal to allow your underage kids to drink in moderation when you are present, it is not legal to let other kids drink at your house, or for your kids to drink at someone else’s home without you present. It is also important to note that Douglas County has a year-round 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for teenagers.

DCSO has seen a significant increase in juvenile violations and is encouraging everyone to know what can happen when underage drinking and drugs enter the picture. A single decision can ruin more than one person’s life, and the DCSO would like readers to take a few minutes to watch “A Light In Dark Places: One student’s story about the consequences of drunk driving.” The video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=Il6A_Uruh-g&feature=youtu.be) details a Legacy High School student’s decision to smoke and drink at a party and then drive with friends, which led to two deaths and his incarceration.

In order to prevent tragedies, the community must work with law enforcement, and the Party Patrol is another method to conquer the growing problem of underage drinking and substance abuse.

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