Tags Posts tagged with "Underage Drinking"

Underage Drinking

By Fr. Francis Pizzarelli

It is hard to believe that summer is almost over and everyone with children is getting back on the school track. Colleges around the country are in full swing. Elementary schools, middle schools and high schools have students beginning in each for the first time. Family life has returned hopefully to normalcy — whatever that means!

The beginning of the new school year is always an excellent time for reflection, reassessment and evaluation regarding the things that are most important in most of our lives.

The present political landscape is probably the most combative and explosive in this century. Our children are witnessing a public discourse that is more than disturbing not because of the ideas and issues being discussed but rather because of the demeaning language being used that is discriminating and bordering on hate rather than unity.

Each new school year is an opportunity for parents to clarify their expectations of their children from participating in family life, to school expectations and social behavior.

Parents should not be afraid to set clear expectations in each area. It is not unreasonable to expect children who live at home to join in the family dinner, without smartphones, headsets or iPods. Dinner time should be an opportunity to share and support each other — a time to laugh and catch up on what is happening in each family member’s life.

It is not unreasonable to have a weekday curfew and a weekend curfew for your children living at home who are in middle school and/or high school. It can be adjusted based on age and grade and should be flexible enough to be adapted based on a son or daughter’s social activities. Parents who have students in elementary, junior and senior high school should restrict their children’s use of the internet. Parents should know to which social media their children connect.

Social media can be an excellent tool or a weapon of human and emotional destruction. Cyberbullying is becoming epidemic everywhere. If your knowledge of social media is limited or nonexistent, get educated. Most school districts sponsor valuable workshops in this regard.

As the new school year unfolds, you need to talk very seriously with your children about their social behavior and their social choices. Do not delude yourself. Your junior and senior high school students are increasingly more sexually active. They need to act in this regard respectfully and protectively. Ignorance is no excuse.

Drinking and drug use continued to be a problem in our community. Underage drinking is dangerous and can become reckless. Too many teenagers are under the influence of alcohol at parties when they are first introduced to opiates and other dangerous drugs.

The heroin epidemic is now a national health crisis. In our own community the clergy are burying at least one young person a week who has overdosed on heroin.

Don’t let your children fool you; oftentimes when they are using illegal substances they will drink a few swigs of beer before they get home so that they make you think that they are just drinking and as a parent you take a sigh of relief and say to yourself at least it’s not drug use!

As parents, we need to be more vigilant and diligent in our parenting. It is definitely among the most challenging and rewarding occupations. Our children are counting on us!

Fr. Pizzarelli, SMM, LCSW-R, ACSW, DCSW, is the director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson.

Does not compute
Early in the morning on Oct. 23, an unknown person entered an unlocked business on Oakland Avenue in Port Jefferson and stole a computer.

NoGood
An unknown person stole a woman’s wallet from her purse on Oct. 25 while the woman shopped at the HomeGoods on Nesconset Highway in Port Jefferson Station.

Got my eye on you
Police said a dispute broke out between two males on Main Street in Port Jefferson on Oct. 24, during which one punched the other in his face, near his eye. It was not clear if the victim needed medical attention after the altercation.

Left unlocked
An unknown person entered an unlocked 2005 Toyota Sequoia on Harbor Beach Road in Mount Sinai and stole assorted items between Oct. 22 at 9:30 p.m. and Oct. 23 at 3:30 a.m.

A clean getaway
At some point between Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, unknown people entered a residence on Norwich Road in Sound Beach through a basement window and stole a washing machine from the residence.

Beer me
Police said on Oct. 23 a man entered a store on Middle Country Road in Centereach and took a 12-pack of beer without paying.

Getting to work
On Oct. 24, an unidentified person stole work gloves and cell phone accessories from the Centereach Mall in Centereach.

Smashing pumpkins
An unknown person smashed a pumpkin in front of a residence on Ambassador Lane in Selden on Oct. 23, then threw another pumpkin through the front window of the residence. Police didn’t know if the individual was acting alone or with others.

Cold case
Police said three people took off in a yellow sedan after stealing five coats from the Kohl’s on Nesconset Highway in Selden on Oct. 23.

Drove my Chevy to the jailhouse
Police arrested a 23-year-old woman from Centereach for driving while ability impaired on Oct. 23, after pulling her over for failing to maintain her lane while driving east in a 2004 Chevy on Chereb Lane in Port Jefferson Station. The officers arrested her at the scene at 1:15 a.m.

Larceny tour
Police arrested a 39-year-old man from Farmingville on four charges of petit larceny, after he hit different stores throughout the county. According to police, on Sept. 11, the man stole assorted merchandise from the Walmart in Centereach, then stole a snow blower from the Kmart in Farmingville 10 days later. On Oct. 5, he stole a vacuum from the Walmart on Middle Country Road in Middle Island, and on Oct. 20 stole toys from the Kmart on North Ocean Avenue in Farmingville. Police arrested the man at the 6th Precinct two days after the final incident.

Gone with the ganja
A 38-year-old woman from Mount Sinai was arrested for criminal possession of marijuana on Oct. 23, after Suffolk County police executed a search warrant at her residence on Island Trail in Mount Sinai. Officers found more than one pound of marijuana. Police did not elaborate on why the search warrant was issued.

Stay focused
A 33-year-old woman from Selden was arrested for unlicensed operation of a vehicle on Oct. 23, after she was pulled over while driving a 2005 Ford Focus down Route 25 in Centereach.

Low maintenance
On Oct. 25, a 25-year-old woman from Mount Sinai was arrested for driving while ability impaired. Police said the woman was driving a 2013 Hyundai east on Route 25A in Port Jefferson shortly after 1 a.m., when police pulled her over for failing to maintain her lane.

Targeted approach
A 42-year-old woman from Centereach was arrested for petit larceny on Oct. 25, after she stole clothing and toys from the Target on Pond Path in South Setauket.

Man gets batty
Police arrested a 50-year-old man from East Setauket for menacing after he prevented the female passenger in his 2002 Toyota from leaving the car on Oct. 26. The driver then exited his car with a baseball bat and hit her car. The incident occurred on Old Town Road in East Setauket.

Stolen apparel
A 36-year old man from Plainview was arrested after police said he stole assorted apparel from the Smith Haven Mall in Smithtown on Oct. 24. He was arrested at 1:20 p.m. and then, once he was taken to the 4th Precinct, police said he had an altered New York State identification card. He was charged with second degree forgery of an official document.

Smoke sign blows away
It was reported that business signs from Aroma Smoke Shop in Smithtown were damaged by four unknown teens at 4 p.m. on Oct. 24.

Xanax o’clock
Police said a 24-year old woman from Northport was in wrongful possession of Xanax at 5:55 a.m. at 4 Parsons Lane in Nissequogue on Oct. 22. She was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Not so lucky
Police said an unknown white man entered Gulf gas station on Nesconset Highway and fled with scratch lotto tickets on Oct. 24 at 7 p.m.

Oxy-co-don’t
A 17-year old man from Smithtown was arrested after police said he was in possession of oxycodone at Commack Liquors on Route 25A in Commack on Oct. 23 at 6:05 p.m. He was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Rims gone
It was reported that two sets of rims and tires were stolen from a 2016 Cadillac Escalade at a dealership in Smithtown sometime between 10 p.m. on Oct. 20 and 8 a.m. on Oct. 21

Bad contact
On Oct. 22, a 23-year old woman from Commack was arrested after police said she hit someone on the head on Route 454 in Commack at 3 a.m. She was charged with second degree physical contact.

Home Depot items have new home
A 47-year old man from East Northport was arrested on Oct. 22 after police said he stole miscellaneous items from Home Depot on Jericho Turnpike in Commack at 10 p.m. He was charged with petit larceny.

Wrong turn
On Oct. 24, a 40-year old man from Bay Shore was arrested after police said he made an illegal left hand turn on Route 25A in Smithtown and they discovered he was driving drunk. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Boozing and speeding
A 36-year old man from Centereach was pulled over for speeding on Route 347 in Commack when it was discovered that he was driving drunk at 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 22. He was charged with driving while intoxicated.

Toke at the traffic stop
A 25-year-old man from Dix Hills was arrested when police said he had marijuana in plain view during a traffic stop on the corner of Lebkamp Avenue and Brennan Street in Huntington on Oct. 24. He was arrested at 7:50 p.m. and charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Welcome to New York
Police said a woman was punched and kicked in the face on New York Avenue in Huntington on Oct. 24 at 3:12 a.m. She was transported to Huntington Hospital for treatment of a broken nose.

Under control
On Oct. 21, a 20-year-old man from Central Islip was arrested after police said he had marijuana and another controlled substance on him at the corner of Park Avenue and Pulaski Road in Huntington Station. He was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Police would not specify which other controlled substance the man had on him, nor why he was not charged with unlawfully possessing it.

Wild times
Someone reported that a wallet containing cash, a credit card and a driver’s license was stolen from a counter in Wild by Nature in Huntington on Oct. 23.

High times at the beach ramp
A 19-year-old man from Commack was arrested at 7:54 p.m. on Oct. 21 in the parking lot of the Hobart Beach boat ramp in Eaton’s Neck for having marijuana and another unspecified controlled substance on him. He was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Oh no in the Volvo
Someone entered a 1991 Volvo on Fort Salonga Road in Huntington on Oct. 23 and took medication and cash.

The nail polish remover
Police said a 30-year-old woman from East Northport stole 75 bottles of nail polish from a Walgreens on Larkfield Road in East Northport on Oct. 23. She was charged with petit larceny.

An unknown person stole numerous bottles of nail polish at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 21 from Walgreens on Larkfield road in Commack.

Puffing at the park
A 17-year-old man from Huntington was arrested after police said he possessed marijuana in plain view in Elwood Park in Huntington on Oct. 23 at 12:35 p.m. He was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

On the fence about staying
Early in the morning on Oct. 24, a 41-year-old man from Centerport was arrested after police said he hit a fence at a residence on Dunlop Road, at the intersection with Greenlawn Road in that neighborhood, with a 2008 Nissan and fled the scene. He was charged with leaving the scene of a crash and property damage.

Minor problem
A 69-year-old man from Lindenhurst was arrested after police said he was selling a can of beer to an underage person on Oct. 23 on New York Avenue. He was charged with first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child.

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Jay Matuk

As a high school principal for the past 17 years, I am deeply troubled by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s recent decision approving the labeling of a new form of powdered alcohol called Palcohol. This substance can be easily mixed with water or any other beverage, making it a camouflaged cocktail drink that is as easy to make as lemonade or iced tea. On so many levels, I find this decision by the manufacturer, Lipsmark LLC, to market this product a truly disturbing one.

Schools across the nation are engaged in an ongoing struggle to address the rampant alcohol and substance abuse issues that plague our communities. Each year, educational leaders and support staff must be able to identify in our students the physiological symptoms caused by the latest “designer” drugs; each year, it seems some new pharmaceutical grade substance becomes popularized in mainstream teenage culture, and before you know it, you have an epidemic on your hands. Just look at the impact that misuse of opiates has had on young adults over the past few years. I know of far too many school districts that have seen current students or graduates succumb to this or other narcotics. I weary of attending more gut-wrenching funerals for children lost to this plague. Now we have the addition of a powdered alcohol mix, which can be added to any bottled beverage while hundreds of students occupy a cafeteria. There is just no level of adult supervision that could prevent the creation of such a cocktail in school. Adolescents being risk-takers by nature, one can only imagine the out-of-school “drinking game” opportunities this new substance would create as well.

For the last three years, I have served on the Board of Directors of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD). This organization provides outreach and counseling services to thousands of individuals and families facing addiction issues on Long Island and in New York City. LICADD also works with dozens of school districts to provide training, counseling and program assistance to overwhelmed support staff employees (counselors, social workers, psychologists) who are valiantly attempting to address alcohol and drug dependence issues in students as young as 12 years old. We are appalled that such a product has the potential for sale in New York State. Since Palcohol has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it is now solely in the hands of individual states to legislate this new product and keep it off the shelves of the convenience stores that no doubt would be a prime location for its marketing and sales campaign.

If there has been one constant that I have observed in my 33 years in public education, it is that our schools have always functioned as a laboratory for observing the impact of all that ails us as a society. Financial struggles, broken families, mental illness, domestic abuse, overuse and abuse of prescription medications, teenage and adult alcohol/drug dependence, the rapidly increasing use and public acceptance of marijuana — we see it all.

To be candid, the weight of these issues dwarfs our ongoing public debate regarding Common Core education and the use of standardized testing for student and professional evaluations. I have shared with parents for years that nothing, not even getting into the best colleges, is as important as the safety and well being of our children. We cannot sit by and allow the emergence of yet another product, FDA-sanctioned or not, to add to the growing list of destructive substances that are afflicting our students and their families.

Jay Matuk, a member of the LICADD Board of Directors, also serves as the principal of Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School and is an adjunct professor at the C.W. Post Graduate School of Education Department of Educational Leadership.