Police prepare to crack down on drinking, drugs during prom | VailDaily.com

Police prepare to crack down on drinking, drugs during prom

Daily Staff Writer

Local police are urging Battle Mountain High School prom-goers to have the time of their lives this weekend – so long as they don’t make alcohol and drugs a part of the party equation.

This weekend kicks off the high school party season with Battle Mountain’s prom Saturday, Eagle Valley High’s prom on May 8 and commencement ceremonies for Red Canyon, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley high on May 28 and 29.

Law enforcement agencies throughout Eagle County will be increasing patrols during local high school prom and graduation weekends to help ensure the safety of students attending the activities.

Commander Joe Russell of the Vail Police Department, who has organized the effort, says the additional presence is intended to prevent teens from and driving under the influence.

“We want the kids in our community to move on to their next life adventure without the worry of making a poor decision that could affect them for the reminder of their lives,” he said.

That concern is extended to parents as well. According to Russell, some parents in the sponsor parties and provide alcohol for kids under adult supervision, thinking they’re reducing the likelihood of an accident by taking the car keys from the kids.

“In actuality, it is illegal to provide an underage person with alcohol, unless a parent is there to supervise his or her own child,” Russell said. “In addition to being illegal, the civil liability for parents who provide this type of illegal activity for underage teens is alarmingly high.”

A 2001 survey sponsored by the Eagle River Youth Coalition found underage drinking among Eagle County high school students to be higher than the national and state averages in many categories. Since then, efforts have been expanded to include additional research on youth-related alcohol and substance abuse, plus counseling programs, an ad campaign to raise community awareness and consistent enforcement efforts by local authorities.

Saturday’s enforcement activities will include a zero-tolerance approach by participating police, with citations issued for underage drinking and other violations, Russell said.

“We’re asking parents to talk with their kids about their expectations, to set limits for their children and, most importantly, to know where they are and who they’re with.”

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