SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


By Captain Kurt Ludwig


May 17, 2008

This is graduation time for high school seniors in Southeast Alaska. Most teens enjoy parties and other get-togethers, especially around graduation. And while celebrating this time is appropriate and natural, there are often decisions made by some parents and teens that are cause for concern for the public's safety.

Some graduation parties serve alcoholic beverages purchased illegally by parents or other adults for teens. Some of these people believe teens are safe to drink alcohol if they are in a "controlled environment." However, parents and adults providing alcohol to teens are breaking the law and sending the wrong message to underage drinkers, which can pose serious legal consequences for everyone involved.

It is illegal for parents or adults to purchase alcohol for persons under the age of 21 or to knowingly allow them to possess or consume alcohol on their property. The only exception is for a parent's child. Breaking this law can result in jail, fines or loss of property.

Providing alcohol to teens sends a mixed message that can add to a teenager's confusion about the acceptability of drinking. It also sends the message that teens do not have to obey laws regarding underage drinking.

Here are some interesting statistics regarding the consumption of alcohol by teens.

  • A teen is 70 percent less likely to develop serious alcohol problems if drinking is delayed until age 21, according to the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. Parents should set boundaries and establish expectations; research demonstrates teens do respond even if it is not readily apparent.
  • When asked what affects their decisions about alcohol, 74 percent of youths report their parents. Parents beat out best friends, television, siblings, teachers and advertising. Clearly, parents can provide the biggest influence on a teen's perception about alcohol use and/or misuse.

Graduation is an important event in a young person's life. Teenagers deserve to live and grow to adulthood in an environment where alcohol is not misused. Hosting a lively alcohol-free party with plenty of fun activities for everyone is one way to show teens we care about their future.

Around this graduation time, I ask all parents and adults not to become a party to teen drinking. Together with you, we can make graduation for our teens safe, fun and alcohol-free. For more information and alcohol-free party tips visit

Captain Kurt Ludwig
A Detachment Commander
Alaska State Troopers
Ketchikan, AK


Received May 16, 2008 - Published May 17, 2008



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