GRMAC sponsors underage drinking awareness program

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge Municipal Alliance Committee made the following announcement:
The Glen Ridge Municipal Alliance Committee is sponsoring an initiative to address underage drinking in Glen Ridge.
A public awareness program, “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most,” is meant to educate communities and parents about the health, safety and liability risks of serving alcohol at teen parties. The program takes place at state and local levels, concentrating on celebratory times for youth, such as homecoming, holidays, prom and graduation, as well as other times when underage drinking parties are prevalent.

This program encourages parents and the entire community to send a unified message that teen alcohol consumption is unhealthy, unsafe and unacceptable. “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” was developed by Drug-Free Action Alliance.

Statistics show through our combined endeavors, the number of youths using alcohol has declined, but there is further work to be done. The fact is, underage drinking is hazardous to the health and safety of children, and parents play a major role in their child’s decision to make healthy choices. The borough of Glen Ridge has an ordinance that reads as follows:
“Allowing alcohol possession or consumption by persons under 21 at private premises: It is a criminal offense in the State of New Jersey, 2C:33-17b, to make your home or property available for the purpose of allowing minors a place to consume alcohol. If convicted, this offense carries a fine of up to $1,000 and /or up to six months imprisonment.”

There are some exemptions for religious observances. The entire ordinance can be viewed at www.municode. com/library/nj/glen_ridge_borough/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT9PUPEMOWE_CH9.20OFAGMI.
It can also be viewed at www.drugfreenj.org/assets/_control/content/files/ordinances/Glen_Ridge_Essex.pdf.

Glen Ridge is not immune to the tragedy of underage drinking. In the 1980s, the community experienced the horrific deaths of students due to underage drinking and driving. John Dobbs, captain of the Glen Ridge Ambulance Squad, reports that approximately three to four underage individuals are brought to the ER each year because of alcohol poisoning. Those are the ones that are known. Many more go unattended to, increasing the risk of accidental death or injury.

Since the program began, it has been requested for replication in all 50 states, Canada, Japan, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. In 2001, the program received the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s Promising Prevention Program Award. While laws vary from state to state, the campaign’s message is a universal one: It is illegal, unsafe and unhealthy for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol.

The program is sponsored by the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, which administers the state’s Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Program.

Members of the Glen Ridge Municipal Alliance Committee include community and school officials as well as
parents. Membership has declined over the years and the committee is in need of more parents to invest in this
organization.

The GRMAC sponsors many alcohol/drug-free events in town, such as homecoming, Candy Cane, Project Graduation, school dances and Red Ribbon Week.

The committee focuses on involvement of the school and community toward children’s academics, and incorporating the social and emotional safety of children.

For more information, contact MAC Chairperson Nancy McMahon at Nancy.mcmahon84@gmail.com, or Heather Kobylinski, district student assistance counselor, at hkobylinski@glenridge.org.

COMMENTS