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Underage Drinkers Beware: Party Patrol is Looking for You

Posted September 18, 2007

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— Chapel Hill police have written twice as many citations for underage drinking this year as during the same period last year. They want to do even more to stop high schoolers from drinking, though, so they plan to start a party patrol.

Officers on party patrol will try to break up gatherings involving underage drinking or prevent them from happening altogether. To help prepare for this new assignment, officers threw a mock party Monday night as a training exercise.

Chapel Hill police said of the dozen or so parties they break up in a year, about half involve high school students.

The parties include "kids that are 16, 17, sometimes even younger, so obviously that raises some concern with us,” said Lt. Kevin Gunter.

"We are seeing kids as young as 9 and 10 years old taking their first drink. The average first-drink nationwide for kids is 12 years of age,” said Nancy McGee of the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center. "The large parties have a tendency to command a lot of resources, get out of control, and create problems within the community."

One of those problems is drinking and driving, especially when police show up and party-goers scatter.

"We are getting tips from students who have heard about these parties. We are getting tips from parents,” Gunter said.

Those tips are something police want to build on. Orange County will soon have an anonymous tip line for people to call if they hear about underage drinking parties in the works.


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  • poohperson2000 Sep 18, 2007

    If parents instilled values into their kids at all, then we would not have this problem. Underage drinking is one thing, but where is the parenting about not drinking, driving, etc.. By the way, you do not need to give them alcohol to teach them about it. The other point is parents, unless they stick their heads in the sand (seen that a few times), know what their kids are up to, how about telling them they can not go to that party at their friends house where you know they are serving alcohol. Being a parent is not about being their friend. Step up to the plate and take some control. When they do experiment, their fear of getting caught should keep them from going too far.

  • Here We Go Again Sep 18, 2007

    I definitely don't agree with making alcohol illegal. What purpose would that serve. Marijuana is "illegal" and it gets smoked quite a bit. I think the comments about parents paying attention to their children is the more appropriate answer. I personally drank all through high school and finally got it out of my system. My dad had the best solution. If you want to drink, do it at home with me. Invite all your friends over and have your parties here. Not many parents would agree with that logic, but none of us died or killed someone else by driving drunk. I have seen the results of drunk driving way too often in my line of work and it is not pretty. Any yes, a lot of times it is teenagers. So for now, parents raise your kids the way you think is best and drink 'em if ya got 'em.

  • jeebk04 Sep 18, 2007

    OMG, we actually have folks badmouthing the kids who have the good judgement to call and report these parties...
    Binge drinking is becoming/is an epidemic teenagers/young adults. Anything that can help save someone's life from a drunken driver, or save someone from living with an addiction to alcohol is well worth the time and money.
    Why don't we take the time and money being wasted on "baggy pants" and apply it to this great cause!

  • Gunslinger Sep 18, 2007

    As for the story, I hope they make alcohol illegal. - joeblow

    Yeah that worked out real well last time. The first gangsters, Al Capone.. You can't make something illegal that humans have been creating and perfecting for thousands of years.

    We can't even get people to stop smoking meth.

  • Network dude Sep 18, 2007

    If you are a parent and you think you child has never had one or thought about it you are probably living in fantasy land. There are some kids who are just good kids and have no desire, but the majority, I would guess are like the people I new growing up. My parents let me have an occasional drink. My dad even gave me $20 to put in my wallet to call a cab if I was drunk. I spent it on beer two days later. :) I was taught not to drink and drive. That is the lesson that will save lives, not abstanence. But that is just my opinion. have a nice day.

  • C6-YA Sep 18, 2007

    Hmmm.... Where are the parents?

  • flashlight Sep 18, 2007

    Let's make the drinking age 25. It will make alcohol cooler, AND sinning will drop by at least 20%!

  • jimbo56 Sep 18, 2007

    A little shocked to read that the average age of a first drink is 12. Boy, was I a late bloomer. I was 15.

  • the alliance Sep 18, 2007

    They drank at my high school, I didn't but wish I had. There were some nice girls at our parties too. Oh the good times that I missed out on.

  • Groovy Sep 18, 2007

    Alcohol; the cause and the solution to all of life's problems.