Don’t let alcohol stand in way of graduates’ future

Thousands of mortar boards will be tossed into the air across Washington this June; a time-honored sign that our high school seniors have finally graduated.

Thousands of mortar boards will be tossed into the air across Washington this June; a time-honored sign that our high school seniors have finally graduated.

The Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD), which is made up of 24 state, local, and non-profit partners dedicated to reducing underage drinking, salutes our state’s new graduates and wishes them the best.

Before our graduates head off to the next phase of their life, they deserve to celebrate their achievements. However, while graduation is a rite of passage, alcohol should not be an accepted part of that rite.

Parents must talk now — before graduation night

Although the majority of parents think otherwise, research shows that parents are the No. 1 influence on whether teens drink. Parents, talk to your graduate now about the negative consequences that can result from drinking — such as traffic fatalities, violence, suicide and sexual activity — before your graduate’s post-ceremony plans are made. Tips are available at www.StartTalkingNow.org.

Parents can make sure their graduate has a safe and fun graduation night. They should also remember that they can be held liable if they host a party where minors are consuming alcohol. Visit www.StartTalkingNow.org for more specifics about Washington’s “Social Host” law.

Parents should:

• Make graduation a family event.

• Ask about post-ceremony plans and confirm with other parents.

• Set and enforce clear rules and expectations about underage drinking.

• Offer to host an alcohol-free party for all graduates

• Work with the school to plan an alcohol-free “grad night.”

• Discuss real-world penalties for underage drinking with their teen

• Offer solutions if alcohol shows up

Alcohol takes many young lives

As parents help their graduate prepare for life after high school, they should know that alcohol is by far the biggest drug problem among Washington’s youth, and has taken more young lives than tobacco and illicit drugs combined.

According to the 2006 Healthy Youth Survey, 42 percent of Washington seniors have had alcohol in the last 30 days, while 70 percent think it’s easy to get alcohol when they want it.

Washington youth report that they drink and drive, binge drink, and ride in cars with drivers who have been drinking. They say it is easy to get alcohol at parties, from friends or at home – with or without permission.

Finally, most of our graduates are just 18 – which means it is against the law for them to drink alcohol.

We all want to keep our graduates safe as they take their next steps into the future. So talk to them today about alcohol.

For more information about underage drinking or to get involved in your community, visit the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking Web site at www.StartTalkingNow.org.

Roger Hoen and Michael Langer, RUaD co-chairs

Roger Hoen is a Board member of the Washington State Liquor Control Board. Michael Langer is the Prevention and Treatment Services Supervisor with the Department of Social and Health Services Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Dr. Jayendrina Singha Ray’s research interests include postcolonial studies, spatial literary studies, British literature, and rhetoric and composition. Prior to teaching in the U.S., she worked as an editor with Routledge and taught English at colleges in India. She is a resident of Kirkland.
How chips define the evolving world order | Guest column

Semiconductor chips are the new oil that the world can go to war over.

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Cartoon by Frank Shiers

Cartoon by Frank Shiers… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
My bold New Year’s resolutions – late, as usual | Whale

I was born late — exactly three weeks — despite my mother’s… Continue reading

Photo courtesy of Greg Asimakoupoulos
Jan. 6, 2021: A date that will live in infamy | Guest column

Jan. 6, 2021. Sadly, for most Americans, that date has become one… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Are we driving more recklessly during the pandemic? | Roegner

Have you noticed — pre-snowstorm — more people taking chances with reckless… Continue reading

Most Read