Patch Asks: Are Underage Drinking Parties a Problem in Montgomery County?

Underage drinking parties are on the rise throughout the county, according to police—and parents may be partially to blame.


It’s not just kids that need alcohol education on the hazards of underage drinking. It’s parents, too.

Underage drinking parties, many of them parent-hosted, are on the rise throughout the county, according to a Gazette report released Wednesday.

At a displayed stacks of kegs and 24-packs of beer seized from underage drinking parties in the county. A task force of local police agencies busted 23 underage drinking parties and issued 239 alcohol citations to youth in possession of or providing alcohol, between Nov. 16 and Jan. 7, said Capt. Thomas Didone of the Montgomery County Police Department. Six underage drivers in violation of alcohol restrictions were also arrested, The Gazette reported. 

“Studies have shown when parents host or enable drinking parties that youth tend to drink more and feel empowered to drink at other times,” Didone told The Gazette.

Providing alcohol to a minor is a civil violation with fines up to $2,500 for a first offense and $5,000 for subsequent offenses, according to county police.

Parents who host an underage drinking party can be charged $500 per minor for a first offense and $1,000 per minor for a second offense, Maura Lynch, a former Montgomery County assistant state’s attorney, told The Gazette.


What do you think of this rising trend? How can parents work to help stop underage drinking? Are parents entirely to blame?

Jeff Hawkins February 10, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Julianna: Good comments "You have all been generalizing teens." If I may I would like to address this one. I think I can state here that nobody intends to generalize this issue or make sweeping generalized comments. I think this happens alot with alot topics using this type of communication, the intent and the words "get lost in the shuffle". If I were a teen these days (God forbid) I would certainly feel "picked upon", every other day there seems to be some sort of "control the teens" agenda. As you so aptly state.......age is just a number and alot of the "higher" numbers need to be just as accountable as the "lower" numbers.
John Francis February 10, 2012 at 03:53 PM
The issue our country and country faces here isnt a problem with "parent enabled drinking", its a problem our culture has with the idea of drinking. Kids are going to drink, and parents should introduce them to alcohol at an earlier age so when they hit high school and their friends say "hey lets go get hammered" they can say "why? If I want a beer I can just go home and have 1 with my dad..." The more you protest against the idea of underage drinking, the more its going to happen, and this county and country have more pressing matters to deal with. Cops in Montgomery County need to spend less time sitting on their lazy asses busting underage drinkers and more time dealing with actual crime.
jnrentz1 February 10, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Under age drinking is an actual crime.
Native February 10, 2012 at 09:21 PM
I believe that you may be wrong declaring that it is an "actual crime" under all circumstances. In Maryland, isn't consumption of alcohol by a minor legal in a residence if the alcohol is provided by the parent with their consent? Isn't there also some kind of an exemption for religious purposes too?
Lynne A February 12, 2012 at 06:47 PM
"Many years ago, when my now adult children were in high school, a friends home was visited by law enforcement. This was an affluent subdivision where life was quiet. When the police asked my friends husband if there were kids drinking in the house, he explained that his daughter had some friends over and everything was under control, which it was. He proceeded to explain that perhaps their energies would be better served by knocking on doors of residents in a nearby apartment complex where drug dealing was known to exist on a continuous basis." This, in a nutshell, is the overall problem. Because it's kids in the affluent parts of Montgomery County getting arrested, people are upset. If kids in lower income area evidenced the same behavior, people would be saluting the police. Did anyone really pay attention to the Ch. 9 story? Including the part that the party house was filled with the smell of marijuana? Affluent kids are doing the same things that poorer kids do; they just have more money with which to do it.


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