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Ahead of prom, group reminds adults that letting teens have alcohol is illegal

Ledge Light Health District's Groton Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (GASP) are reminding people as prom season is underway that Connecticut law prohibits anyone who owns or controls property from recklessly allowing people under age 21 to have alcohol on the property and that parents should use caution when hosting parties for teenagers.

"Most people don’t know the brain develops until age 25," Carolyn Wilson, the Health Program Coordinator at Ledge Light Health District, said in a news release. "We want our youth to protect themselves and their bright futures. You can have fun and make great memories with your friends without drugs and alcohol."

Wilson said adults should be clear about their rules about alcohol and drug use.

"There is a disconnect between unspoken expectations and verbalized clear rules," she said. "Speak up, don’t assume they know how you feel."

The Groton Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention features advice for safe parties on its website, www.grotonprevents.org, and Wilson reminded parents that schools often host drug- and alcohol-free graduation parties. 

The social host law also requires a person who knows that a minor has alcohol to try to stop it.

For failing to stop the possession, the law extends liability to a person "who acts recklessly or with criminal negligence" and increases the penalty to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison or a $2,000 fine.

Parents and guardians should establish clear rules for their children, especially during prom and graduation parties, monitor their children's activities and talk to other parents in their community about party plans, Groton Town police Chief Louis J. Fusaro said in the release.

Anyone who wishes to report suspected underage drinking or drug use can call the Groton police hotline at (860) 445-5291.

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