Dear Parents,

Prom and graduation – two big milestones in our children’s lives, and also two big social events – will soon be upon us. We here at West River Valley Thrives would like to take this opportunity to encourage parents who are
planning to host parties to keep them free of drugs and alcohol. Thrives would also like to remind parents that social hosting is against the law. Note the Vermont Statute, below:

Vermont Statutes: 7 V.S.A. § 658. Sale or furnishing to minors; enabling consumption by minors; minors causing death or serious bodily injury. (https://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/07/021/00658)

It is a crime in Vermont to sell, provide, or enable persons under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. This includes parents allowing their children to host parties where underage drinking occurs at their own home. While a parent
may think that this provides a safe alternative to unsupervised parties, the penalties in Vermont can be severe. If you are convicted of violating this statute, the law mandates a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $2,000,
imprisonment of not more than two years, or both. You may also be held criminally liable under the statute if a person under the age of 21, to whom you have provided alcohol, gets in a motor vehicle accident. If the motor vehicle accident results in death or serious bodily injury to himself or herself or to another person, you may be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to five years, or both.

The above statutes encompass only the criminal penalties that you may face for providing alcohol to minors. Be aware, additional civil penalties by the victims of accidents resulting from providing alcohol to minors may also be brought.

Additional Links:

The Vermont Department of Health: http://www.healthvermont.gov/alcohol-drugs/by-substance

Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program (YSASP): http://vtcourtdiversion.org/youth-substance-abuse-safetyprogram/

Alcohol and other drugs, such as marijuana, over-the-counter, and prescription drugs, impair judgment, perception, and motor coordination skills. Youth often underestimate the impact that drugs, especially marijuana, have on driving. Marijuana impairs vision, distorts perception of time and space, inhibits reflexes, and may cause drowsiness. These effects are especially frightening when we take into account a teenager’s inexperience behind the wheel. The truth is, no matter how much support we offer our children, they still may face situations in which they are pressured to try substances. While students may complain about our concern and vigilance, studies show that the number one reason kids give for not drinking is that they don’t want to disappoint their parents. Children care deeply about their parents’ opinions — even if they don’t show it directly. In conclusion, if you have knowledge of illegal parties taking place or in planning, you may call the Windham County Sheriff’s Office at 802-365-4942. Thank you for helping keep our youth safe and healthy! Visit parentupvt.org for more info.

In Health and Wellness,

Steve Tavella / Director
West River Valley Thrives | Engaging and inspiring healthy communities.

For a PDF copy of this letter, click here.