Give Teenager Drinkers Other Choices

The New York Times, Westchester Weekly
February 27, 2005

To the Editor:

Alcohol Wars Give ‘Party Jitters’ a Whole New Meaning” (Feb. 20) describes the continuing debate over how best to curb under-age drinking.

Almost all the discussion has focused on punishment. Should parents be punished for hosting parties? Should local shops and bodegas be penalized or closed for selling alcohol to under-age minors?

But as we argue who should be held accountable, we offer few alternatives. Teenagers living in the suburbs, especially those who don’t have drivers’ licenses, are limited in the types of activities available to them on the weekends. With few or no organized activities offered, teenagers often resort to risky behavior involving alcohol consumption.

Instead of debating who should be reprimanded for the problem, we should be discussing how to create alternatives. Only when dry-weekend options exist for Westchester teenagers will under-age drinking begin to ease.


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