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Pizza boxes carry warning about underage drinking

Main Street, in Allentown. 5/15 - jw

By Andrew Martins
Staff Writer

ALLENTOWN – A local municipal alliance is using the power of pizza delivery to warn parents about the serious consequences that could arise if they host a party at which underage individuals consume alcohol.

Members of the Upper Freehold-Allentown Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse recently teamed up with Via Roma II, 1280 Yardville-Allentown Road, as part of the national “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” campaign.

“A lot of parents in different communities – especially during prom or graduation season – host underage drinking parties,” said Deborah Minnick, the coordinator of the alliance. “The kids may stay overnight, but it is still against the law.”

Under state law, anyone who makes alcohol available to an individual under the legal drinking age of 21 can be charged with a disorderly persons offense. If a person is found guilty of those charges he can be liable for monetary compensation to any victims and up to $350,000 in fines, based on the severity of the incident that may result from serving alcohol to a person under 21.

Although the focus of the “Parents Who Host Lose the Most” campaign is on adults who host a party at which alcohol is served to people under 21, Minnick said the law extends into other situations.

“Something parents may not realize is that if they are away from the house for the weekend and their kids have a party, they are still liable if someone gets killed or injured,” she said.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in 2013 that 23 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds drank alcohol and 14 percent admitted to binge drinking in the past. That same year, a study by the Monitoring the Future Survey showed that 28 percent of eighth-graders and 68 percent of 12th graders surveyed admitted to trying alcohol.

In order to warn adults of the consequences of hosting a party and serving alcohol, Minnick said the alliance enlisted volunteers, including students from Allentown High School, to help fold 500 pizza boxes at Via Roma II and to place a host liability warning sticker on each box.

With the pizza boxes and stickers now being delivered in the community, Minnick said the alliance hopes to extend the campaign into 2017 with more local vendors participating.

For more information about the alliance or about the “Parents Who Host Lose The Most” campaign, contact Deborah Minnick at 609-570-5376 or email dminnick@uftnj.com

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