The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has found that one of the largest problems facing our community today is the underage use of alcohol. As graduation time draws near, we encourage all families with high school seniors to take time to discuss the potential dangers that occur when alcohol is available at graduation celebrations or other parties your senior may attend these last days of the school year. They should consider the consequences they could face for consuming alcohol under the legal age.
Underage drinking can have varied consequences for the youth of Van Buren County. Making the decision to consume alcohol under the age of 21 could take away the chances of receiving financial aid in college. If convicted of alcohol use, it will be on their permanent record, which is something Federal Aid takes into serious consideration. They may not be able to practice the following careers in Iowa if convicted as well: accountant, architect, attorney, chiropractor, dentist, engineer, law enforcement, medical doctor, nurse, optometrist, pharmacist, physical therapist, physician assistant, psychologist, real estate broker, court reporter, social reporter, teacher, or veterinarian.
Most people would never think of violating laws related to drug use, but the community norm regarding use of alcohol is often thought of differently. Clear expectations and boundaries are important components of healthy community norms and values. Positive adult role models also play a significant role in establishing these norms. While it is legal for adults to consume alcohol, graduation parties are not held in honor of adults. Such celebrations are held in honor of the young person for their achievements and graduation from high school.
Please examine your personal beliefs about alcohol use by young people and the example set by our community during graduation time. We are hoping you will plan to join the many families who are celebrating their student’s graduation in an alcohol-free environment. Congratulations and best wishes to your high school senior and your entire family on behalf of the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition!