A couple weekends ago there was a house party here in Omaha, NE that resulted in 70 juveniles being cited with minor in possession (MIP). It was estimated that there were about 100 teens in the home’s basement. There was a 45 year old and one juvenile that were cited, however neither one of them were arrested.
This brings me to think about what is the message that we are sending to juveniles and adults about the seriousness of the act of procuring alcohol to minors. I asked my 13 year old, 7th grade son what he thought of the situation. His first reaction was, “That is stupid!” When I asked him if he thought it was okay that nobody went to jail he responded, “The ones buying the alcohol should go to jail because if they don’t it may inspire kids to think that it’s okay for them to drink and they won’t be scared to ask anyone to buy them some. That is putting 70 kids at risk for becoming alcoholics.”
As a mother this is a response that I was glad to hear. I know however this is not how many juveniles would react. So it makes me think of why he responded in such a way. I know that his love for his Native culture greatly impacts the way he feels about substances of abuse. The way of life that he wants to live, following cultural traditions and participating in ceremonies of the Lakota people, has influenced his decision to stay away from substances of abuse.
So it brought me to wonder what are the consequences for procuring alcohol to minors and what are they for juveniles that get a MIP. Are they harsh enough to deter adults from enabling them to drink? Are they harsh enough to deter our youth from picking up that drink? If a 13 year old can see how harmful it is to the youth and society in the present and in the long run, then why is it that we have adults that have the perception that it is okay for the juveniles to consume alcohol?