Tag Archives: alcohol use

We Drink To That

The email arrived too long after Halloween to use.  An “06880” reader had gone trick-or-treating with her young children near the beach, and was shocked and disappointed to see how many adults — answering doors, and out with their own kids — were drinking.

One house featured a 5-foot inflated beer bottle.  A woman walked around with her young son, who pulled a wagon with a cooler.  The mother provided drinks to parents she met on the street.

The “06880” reader said the adults’ message was clear:  No celebration is complete without alcohol.

“Getting drunk doesn’t start in high school at Homecoming,” she said.  “It starts at home, with a much-too-relaxed attitude toward drinking.”

When I told her the statute of limitations had passed on a Halloween-and-booze blog post, she suggested I tie it in with the upcoming holiday season.

Though — spiked egg nog notwithstanding — I’ve never thought of Christmas as a big drinkfest, New Year’s certainly is.  One of the scariest nights of my life was driving home at 3 a.m. one January 1, and seeing 2 — 2! — cars zoom past me on I-95  going the wrong direction.  (I took the Post Road the rest of the way.)

I’m not sure what the answer is.  First Night is one attempt to create an alcohol-free celebration.  But it ends at 9 p.m., leaving plenty of time for adults (and teenagers) to get liquored up.

The “06880” reader acknowledged that complaining about irresponsible behavior makes her feel old.  She probably has as many memories as I do of New Year’s celebrations past.

But she wants Westport parents to know that their actions involving alcohol — not what they say, but what they do — have profound effects on their kids, and their kids’ friends.  Consider her message conveyed.

I’m still amazed that Halloween has turned into an adult drinking holiday.  What’s next:  Graduation Day?

Don’t answer that.

Surveying The Scene

A small crowd discussed some big ideas about drugs and alcohol — Westport-style — at Town Hall last night.

Positive Directions and a panel of Staples students presented the results of several recent surveys.

Some results were unsurprising. Alcohol and marijuana use by teenagers is prevalent.  There is a strong correlation between drinking and drugs.  Parents underestimate what their own kids are doing.

Some of the results did surprise.  Twenty of the parents surveyed had hosted a party with alcohol for teens — and nearly all said they were aware of the underage alcohol law.  Among students and parents, cigarettes are perceived to be more harmful than either marijuana or alcohol.

But, as often happens, the best information came from the students themselves.

Four members of Staples’ Teen Awareness Group presented their own surveys.  And while 60% of seniors (and 10% of juniors) admitted to drinking and driving, 80 percent said their parents have done the same thing.  When asked whether they’ve ever been in a car with a drunk driver, student after student asked the TAG members:  “Do my parents count?”

You bet they do.  In more ways than they realize, parents count.