YAPHANK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Summer is here, and that means party season for teenagers.
But even in the privacy of one’s own home, underage drinking is illegal and could land the adults behind bars – even if they’re not home at the time. CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff had a warning for parents Wednesday.
Suffolk County police on Wednesday were trolling Facebook – fertile ground for parties where underage drinking gets kids and their parents in trouble. It is a new tool to crack down on what officials say is no minor issue.
“We will not tolerate adults serving children alcohol – it’s that’s simple,” said Suffolk County police Commissioner Timothy Sini.
Suffolk County has one of the toughest social host laws on the books. Nine people so far this year have been accused of knowingly allowing alcohol to be served to minors.
“It is not our hope to lock parents up for serving alcohol to minors,” said Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi “But it is our hope to send a clear message to those parents that binge drinking in their homes with others is not appropriate. It’s illegal. It’s dangerous.”
The problem has been growing exponentially with social media shares quickly drawing hundreds and sometimes thousands of unexpected guests. One Sound Beach father was arrested after binge drinking in his home landed a teen in the hospital.
“My kids told me they were going to have some of their friends over,” said Charles Suomi. “It got out of hand.”
Neighbors in Suffolk County can now shut down keg parties before they even happen, by tipping off police.
“We’ll actually go to the residence, knock on the door, and let them know, ‘You may not be aware, but children were going to drunk at your house,’” Sini said.
Experts suggest that parents should let teens know drinking makes them less likely to learn, and more likely to become an alcoholic.
“Even when they are slamming the door, walking away with the earbuds in, they still hear your voice in their head,” said Pam Mizzi of the Long Island Prevention Resource Center.
And if parents are not home, but your teen is over age of 18 serving alcohol, he or she can be arrested too.