December Prevention Column

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Although most parents understand the consequences of underage drinking, some believe that if their teenager is going to drink alcohol, it’s safer to drink at home. These adults, though, might not realize the horrible consequences that could result from that decision.

They might not know, for example, that under New Jersey law, anyone who purposely or knowingly offers, serves or makes alcohol available to an underage person who is not their child is breaking the law. Moreover, if charged with this violation, can face a disorderly  persons offense-punishable with up to six months in the County jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine! Even worse, besides criminal charges, parents or other adults can be civilly liable– meaning damages can be awarded in a civil lawsuit- if they knowingly allow someone to drink alcohol in their home and that person gets sick, dies or injures someone else. Hosts may have to pay compensation to victims, paying punitive charges up to $350,000, based on the evidence!!

The Community Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Morris hopes that you remember always—and especially during this holiday season—that underage drinking is illegal, unsafe and unhealthy. Allowing youth to drink alcohol in your home is a decision that can result in consequences that can- and indeed has-ruined too many lives.

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