Underage Drinking: Success Stories



Drinking: Success Stories





– April 3, 2000



of Problem










With support from the OJJDP

Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws Initiative, community organizations,

enforcement agencies, youth, and other concerned citizens are working

collaboratively to change local ordinances and enforcement practices.

Glastonbury, CT Citizens Group Works to Strengthen

Ordinances and

Enforcement Strategies Regarding Underage Drinking Parties

The Glastonbury (CT) Alcohol and Drug Council (GLAD) is comprised of

parents, youth, community agency staff, law enforcement, school staff, and

other concerned citizens working to implement prevention efforts in the

community. One of GLAD?s pressing concerns is underage drinking at

parties. Underage drinking has been a factor in many of the town?s worst

tragedies, including a double homicide at a house party in 1998.

In an effort both to prevent underage drinking parties and to increase

enforcement options, GLAD and its Regional Action Council took a critical

look at CT state law and Glastonbury?s local ordinances. The group found

that neither state law nor local statutes allowed any legal action to be

taken against youth under 21 years of age who are in possession of alcohol

or under the influence of alcohol when on private property. Therefore,

underage drinkers could be arrested for possessing alcohol on public

property or in a public place, but their peers drinking a few feet away

from them on private land could legally drink.

To remedy this gap in existing laws, GLAD proposed an amendment to the

Glastonbury Code of Ordinance specifically addressing the issue of youth

under 21 years of age and alcohol on private property. After unanimous

approval by the town council, the result of GLAD?s effort is a new

ordinance that allows police to issue $100 tickets to anyone under 21

found in possession of alcohol anywhere in Glastonbury. Fines could also

be levied against the adult hosts of these parties. These tickets are

similar to traffic tickets and do not require court appearances. GLAD

works to encourage parents and other adults to talk with youth about this

ordinance and its consequences. To further emphasize the town?s stance

on the issue, the Glastonbury Police Chief sends a letter to parents of

youth found in attendance at underage drinking parties.

GLAD also works with the CT Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking to

encourage and assist other towns to change local ordinances to better

address underage alcohol use. By promoting Glastonbury?s success, the

Coalition is generating interest and action from other communities to

improve their enforcement of underage drinking laws.

For more information,

contact Geralyn Laut of GLAD at

860-659-8431 or the CT Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking at 1-800-422-5422, ext. 15.



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