Celebrate graduates responsibly

As local high school graduations commence, we want to congratulate all of the grdauates for their achievements. Let the celebrations begin! But please do so responsibly.

There will be graduation parties and alcohol will be served at some. But please keep in mind the the legal age to drink in Ohio is 21 and anyone serving young people under the age of 21 alcohol doing so illegally, even if you are doing so at a private residence.

According to Ohio law, someone under the age of 21 can drink alcohol but only in the presence of their parent, guardian or spouse, who is over 21. So anyone hosting a graduation party cannot legally serve alcohol to youngsters if their parents are not there. They also can’t drink alcohol if they bring their own; nor can you obtain a letter or any other kind of permission from a parent in advance.

The bottom line is this: If you allow underage youth to drink alcohol at your home, you can be sued for any harm, injury or death that results from that alcohol consumption.

Consider these sobering statistics by collegebingedrinking.net:

– Each year, automobile accidents take the lives of nearly 3,000 teens in the 16-to-19 age group, and a quarter of a million more are sent to hospital emergency rooms with serious injuries.

– “Death by car” is the No. 1 mortality risk for adolescents, and alcohol consumption is implicated in about 33 percent of these fatal accidents.

– The percentage of automobile fatalities that involve alcohol jumps from 33 percent to 40 percent on graduation night.

– One-third of those under the age of 21 who die in accidents lose their lives during graduation season, many in car crashes.

Why take the chance? Graduation is a time of celebration for sure, but that’s because it’s the closing of one chapter in a young person’s life and the opening of another. Why risk scarring that hopeful time by allowing underage drinking and the risks that come with it?

Once again, congratualtions to all of the area’s high school graduates and their families. Good luck in whatever your next chapter brings!