Arizona SADD reminds graduates, parents about safe celebrations

Queen Creek High School was host to an Operation Prom event Thursday, April 12, during which high school drama students simulated an alcohol-related vehicular incident while fellow students witnessed the consequences as they unfolded. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

Life’s milestones such as high school graduation are times for celebration, and Arizona SADD encourages not only graduates but also parents to do so with safety and the law in mind.

“All too often we have parents who feel they are doing the right thing by providing alcohol in their home to their teen and their friends and taking the keys, so teens can’t drive after they’ve been drinking,” Jessica Hugdahl, Arizona SADD state director, stated in a release. “It is important for them to understand that this is illegal, and they could face criminal and civil sanctions if underage persons are consuming alcohol on their property.”

SADD officials stated underage drinkers are more likely to engage in risky behavior. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

For almost 40 years, SADD has worked “to empower teens, engage parents, mobilize communities, and change lives around the issues of traffic safety, substance abuse, and personal health and safety,” according to a release from the organization.

Underage drinkers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors or become victims due to vulnerability, according to SADD. The effects of alcohol-impaired judgment and coordination often result in poor decision-making, the release stated, adding communication and planning “is key to helping your teen make safe choices.”

Among reminders to parents are to communicate clear expectations with their children and friends who might be hosting parties and talk to them about the risks of drugs and alcohol abuse.

SADD officials also advise that teens should have established times for checking in with their parents and never rent hotel rooms for parties or get into a car with someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Open communication between parents and teens regarding behaviors and expectations can make a difference in preventing impaired driving, drug/alcohol use, and other destructive decisions. Take a few minutes to have a conversation with your teen to keep them safe this graduation season,” the release stated.

The Apache Junction Independent is mailed each month to 35,000 homes.

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