Adults may want to kick back with a couple of brews and enjoy one last hurrah before the end of summer, but those under 21 are warned they should not do the same.
The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership came to Skibbo’s Discount Beer and Soda at 3156 E. Tremont Avenue on Thursday, September 2 to join owner Tom Altieri in placing “bottle tags” on beer and wine bottles.
The tags alert parents and adults to the penalties that they would face if they served alcohol to minors at parties over Labor Day weekend.
The bottle tags, with the distinctive TNCAP bee holding a sign — “be the one to make this a better community” — urge adults to refuse children alcohol and report underage drinking to the police.
According to TNCAP’s community planner Loretta MacKnight, the campaign has been a success since it was launched, just before the Forth of July, with strong support from the Throggs Neck Merchants Association. T
NCAP is part of the Archdiocese of New York’s substance abuse prevention program.
“If people have large parties over the Labor Day weekend, they often go to a beer distributor like Skibbos,” MacKnight said. “We thought this was the perfect time to educate parents about the dangers of teen drinking, before something tragic happens.”
One of TNCAP’s top priorities is to let parents know that there are serious consquences to hosting parties in their homes where alcohol is served to anyone under 21. MacKnight said that there have been a host of lawsuits in which adults have been sued or brought up on charges after young people got sick from alchol served in private homes.
“A lot of parents do not realize that they are liable if teens are drinking in their home, even if they are not there with them,” MacKnight said.
Altieri said he believes that by keeping alchol out of the hands of minors, he can do the children a service. He feels that it is the least he can do as a responsible member of the business community.
“Kids are allowed to come in here, because I also sell soda and ice,” Altieri said. “But, the legal age of alcohol is 21 and young people can easily become addicted to alcholol because they are not mature and don’t know how to handle themsleves with it. Young people who don’t have an I.D. are trying to buy alcohol all the time, but I turn them away.”
TNCAP is pushing for passage of a social host law that would impose stiffer penalties on parents who host parties for underage drinkers.
“The bottle tags were first tried in several communities in upstate New York, and we learned about it through the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, an organization which we are part of,” MacKnight said. “Tommy Melendez of Copy That! printed the bottle tags with our bee logo.
It has really attracted people. The kids pick up the tag and read it.”