BE IN THE KNOW – Teens & Alcohol

BE IN THE KNOW, Teens & Alcohol

The Kenora Substance Abuse and Mental Health Task Force would like to remind parents and guardians of the potentially serious consequences of allowing your teen to host a house party where alcohol will be provided this holiday season.

No matter how safe you think your home environment is, there are too many factors that are out of your control that could have devastating effects:

  •   You could be held liable for accidents or injuries that a teen may cause to him/herself or someone else.
  •   Contributing to the supply and consumption of alcohol puts the safety of your teen and other teens at risk.
  •   Impaired reasoning, judgement and coordination can have serious effects including unintentional injuries, risk of alcohol poisoning and reduced inhibitions that lead to potentially risky behaviour such as sexual assault and drinking and driving.

It’s ok to call the police if you have any concerns about teen drinking.

Like other drugs, alcohol produces a wide range of physical and mental effects. Even at low levels, alcohol affects perception, judgement, coordination and decision-making, long before there are obvious signs of impairment. Teenagers’ brains are still developing making them particularly susceptible to alcohol-related harms. Teens typically have a low tolerance to alcohol and are vulnerable to intoxication. Drinking alcohol as a youth increases the risk for alcohol dependence in adulthood.

According to the Child Protection Act, it is your obligation to keep your teen safe. A child protection agency may investigate any instance where a parent/guardian provides alcohol to a child, or where the child is not being adequately supervised at all times.

It is illegal for anyone under 19 years of age to buy, drink or possess alcohol. Under the Ontario Liquor Licence Act (LLA) any person under legal drinking age may be fined up to $125 for buying or possessing alcohol. A person found to be selling or giving alcohol to a minor is also guilty of an offence. In Ontario, offenders can face fines of up to $200, 000, and/or up to one year in jail. A parent providing alcohol to his or her own child in a private residence and under their supervision is the only exception to the LLA.

Whether you are aware of and supervising your teen’s party or not, there are potential serious legal and social implications that can put you, your teen and others at risk. Understanding the law is important, but keeping our kids safe if what matters most.

For more information email ksamhtf@kmts.ca.