As high school seniors prepare to graduate, many will celebrate in an illegal manner by consuming alcohol. Some area adults look the other way while others directly contribute to the problem. Ohio allows parents to provide alcohol to their own children while in their presence but that is all the law permits. Hosting underage drinking parties is illegal.
Nonetheless, it happens in the Tri-county, where alcohol consumption is part of the culture. Many who work in addiction services and law enforcement agree this is an underlying challenge.
Chelsea L. Verhoff is the iChoose Program coordinator at the Partnership for Violence Free Families in Lima. She is a Kalida native whose professional life is dedicated to preventing substance abuse. She says underage drinking is a problem taken lightly and enabled by many parents.
“After a game, at least in the Kalida area, a lot of parents go to the bar afterward. I’m sure a few of them have more than two alcoholic beverages and drive home. We’re kind of teaching our kids it’s OK to drink and drive, even though we tell them all the time not to do it. Actions speak louder than words,” she said. “One of my pet peeves is drinking and driving and I know it happens a lot at the high school level — I’ve seen it first-hand. I saw it with other kids when I was in school and I see it now. We need to tighten up on it.”
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