Fayette County News

Fayette County


Community group wants stricter law for parents that host ‘drinking parties’

A campaign from AVPRIDE, the Fayette County based Youth Leadership Development organization, has sought to expand awareness of youth drinking habits in the county and encourage the passage of a “social hosting” ordinance that would punish parents that host parties that involve underage drinking.

Michael Mumper and other AVPRIDE representatives have been presenting before local governments about this campaign during the month of April, which is national alcohol awareness month.

Mumper has spoken at various meetings about some of Fayette County’s youth drinking statistics, gathered from the annual Georgia Student Health Survey as well as another survey done in October, 2014 by AVPRIDE and Fayette Factor.

Those surveys showed that, particularly amongst high school upperclassmen, alcohol is easy to obtain. The Georgia Student Health Survey, conducted by the Georgia Department of Education, showed a few data points that AVPRIDE has highlighted:

– More 12th graders drink in Fayette (32.93%) than the state average for Georgia (25.85%).

– 45.54% of 12th graders in Georgia disapprove of their friends drinking, and in Fayette that number is considerably lower, at 35.00%.

-70.62% of Georgia 12th graders say alcohol is easy to obtain, but that number is higher in Fayette, 79.86%.

Mumper, in speaking to various boards, has also highlighted the issue of “social hosting,” where parents allow their children and friends to drink in their home. Mumper emphasized that survey by AVPRIDE and Fayette Factor, which received responses from 462 Fayette high school students and 695 parents, showed that there is a lag in certain areas between youth attitudes toward alcohol and parental attitudes.

In particular, the survey showed that over 40-percent of students in grades 10 to 12 know parents that host underage drinking parties, whereas just 25-percent of parents responding said they were aware of other parents who hosted such parties. Similarly, over 25-percent of teens reported attending a drinking party in the last two months while around 12-percent of parents were aware that their child had done so.

The figures, when broken down by grade level, show attitudes toward alcohol change rapidly as students get older. Roughly half of the 12th graders responding said they would attend a party with alcohol even if their parents weren’t aware that alcohol would be available. That percentage is just over 15-percent among 8th graders and around 25-percent for students between grade 9 and 11.

Mumper also highlighted a discrepancy in students and parents reporting that they had discussed alcohol recently. Roughly 70-percent of responding parents said they’d discussed alcohol use with their child in the last month, while less than 40-percent of students reported the same. Almost 30-percent of students responding said they had never discussed alcohol use with their parents, whereas almost all parents responding said they had discussed alcohol use with their child at least once before.

According to Mumper, the “coalition of community leaders” that includes AVPRIDE has been working on the issue of youth drinking for over three years and has developed a three-pronged approach which will include alcohol education curriculum at the middle school level, a push for a “social host” ordinance, and an awareness campaign called “Parents Who Host Lose the Most.”

A timeline provided by Mumper said the group will discuss wording of a social host ordinance this spring.

By Josh Akeman

Josh Akeman is the managing editor of the Fayette County News, Today in Peachtree City, and East Coweta Journal. He is a graduate of Fayette County High School and the University of Georgia.