Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
P/sunny
80°
P/sunny
Hi 83° | Lo 59°

Tips for Easthampton parents about underage drinking

  • Meg Kroeplin, left, a licensed social worker, and Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Pesce field questions Thursday during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention at Easthampton High School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Meg Kroeplin, left, a licensed social worker, and Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Pesce field questions Thursday during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention at Easthampton High School.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Meg Kroeplin, a licensed social worker, speaks Thursday during  the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention at Easthampton High School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Meg Kroeplin, a licensed social worker, speaks Thursday during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention at Easthampton High School.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Parents, students, teachers and others listen to speakers during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School. Alan Schadel of Easthampton Police, front, spoke during the forum. About 100 people attended.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Parents, students, teachers and others listen to speakers during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School. Alan Schadel of Easthampton Police, front, spoke during the forum. About 100 people attended.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Pesce speaks during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Pesce speaks during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Easthampton High School student Bryan Delaney speaks during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School. Delaney showed a video he made on smoking.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

    Easthampton High School student Bryan Delaney speaks during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School. Delaney showed a video he made on smoking.
    JERREY ROBERTS Purchase photo reprints »

  • Meg Kroeplin, left, a licensed social worker, and Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Pesce field questions Thursday during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention at Easthampton High School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Meg Kroeplin, a licensed social worker, speaks Thursday during  the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention at Easthampton High School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Parents, students, teachers and others listen to speakers during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School. Alan Schadel of Easthampton Police, front, spoke during the forum. About 100 people attended.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Yvonne Pesce speaks during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS
  • Easthampton High School student Bryan Delaney speaks during the Easthampton Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking and Marijuana Prevention Thursday at Easthampton High School. Delaney showed a video he made on smoking.<br/>JERREY ROBERTS

“It takes a lot of people to raise a child,” said Easthampton Police Officer Alan Schadel, the department’s school resource officers. “That’s why we’re here.”

About 50 people attended a town hall meeting Thursday at Easthampton High School hosted by Strategic Planning Initiative for Families and Youth (SPIFFY) to discuss ways to decrease drug and alcohol use among students.

Schadel told parents that one of the best ways to discourage illicit behavior is to not be afraid to check up on their children and know where they are and who they are with, either by calling, discussing plans ahead of time, or using cellphone technology to track their whereabouts.

“Odds are when you check up on them, they’re where they’re supposed to be and with who they’re supposed to be,” Schadel said.

Parents can’t afford to be diligent only when their children are out of the house, Schadel said, recommending that parents keep track of the amounts and types of prescription medications and alcohol in the house and take action if they notice any missing.

Parents can also be held liable if they provide alcohol to those under 21, even if they confiscate car keys and provide a place to sleep, Schadel said.

Despite, that he said at least one parent every year asks if it’s OK to serve alcohol at high school graduation parties.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Yvonne Pesce said teens attending a parent-sponsored party where alcohol is served isn’t necessarily the worst-case scenario, because most parents who host such parties usually at least keep drivers’ keys.

But taking away keys doesn’t prevent the lowering of inhibitions and diminished decision making that goes along with alcohol consumption.

Pesce said assaults, including sexual assaults, other injuries and life-threatening reactions to alcohol, can all occur after consumption, and homeowners can be held liable if such things happen on their property.

She cited one case in particular where a family lost almost everything after being found responsible for an assault that occurred in their home when minors were drinking.

Social worker Meg Kroeplin suggested keeping an eye on children during high-stress periods in their lives, because those times are when people are more likely to self-medicate.

Transitions like moving from middle to high school or high school to college, or a loss of a friend or family member or the ending of a relationship are all potential triggers. Kroeplin said drugs and alcohol may seem like an easy fix.

“(Drugs and alcohol) are the shortest route to pain relief,” she said. “If they get high, they’re not worried anymore.”

During periods of anxiety, people will naturally seek out some kind of comfort, Kroeplin said.

“Make sure the closest thing for comfort is not drugs or alcohol,” she said, adding that simple things like discussing with children how to deny offers of drugs or alcohol or offering alternative activities may help them avoid experimenting.

Clear guidelines and consistent consequences for violating them are also effective tools for helping kids make better decisions regarding drugs and alcohol, Kroeplin said.

More information on SPIFFY and its programs is available at spiffycoalition.org.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.