2009-04-03 / Letters

Alcoholism Does Not Discriminate

Discriminate Dear Editor,

I wish to thank Monsignor Brown, Howard Schwach and Barbara Frey for addressing the current crisis of underage drinking in our community. Barbara Frey asked where the problem of underage drinking comes from. The blame lies everywhere, from the government, to the NYPD, to the local bars/storeowners, local bodegas, local car services that purchase and deliver alcohol to under age drinkers. What happened on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade was a terrifying experience for long-time residents of Rockaway. To see the streets of our beautiful neighborhood known as New York's hidden treasure turn into the sights of a ghetto was heartbreaking. The underage drinking and gang fighting was intensely distressing for all residents of Rockaway and not a matter of "kids being stupid." Parenting is a 24 hour a day job. There are so many programs, web sites, and magazines that are available for parents to talk about underage drinking and use of drugs with their children beginning at age ten. Do not say, not my kid, not in my house. As the warmer weather approaches, underage drinking and use of drugs will increase also. It happens on our streets and beaches every weekend. Do not justify such behavior and complain there is nothing to do in Rockaway for the young. It is the responsibility of each parent/ guardian to know where and what their children are doing. Get to know your children's friends and what type of families they are from. Let your son and daughter know there will be consequences if they break the law. The legal drinking age in New York is 21, whether you agree with it or not. It is the law. Families need to pledge to keep our youth safe and drug and alcohol free. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, adulthood is commonly thought of as beginning at age 20 or 21. In conclusion, parents/ guardians are responsible for their children legally and morally forever. The word parent is defined as protector or guardian meaning to keep from being damaged or injured. It is proven that alcohol is by far the most used and abused drug among American teenagers. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21. Do not damage your child's life. Do not permit underage drinking. It is important to be a parent before a friend. Keep in mind at all times, alcoholism does not discriminate.

TARA ROSS

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