Police asking parents to discuss prom safety

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- This weekend kicks off an exciting time for high school students - it's prom season.

As students finalize their dinner plans and dresses, the Cumberland County Underage Drinking Enforcement Task force is kicking off a campaign for both parents and teens.

In stores stores around Cumberland County there are flyers offering a list of tips for students and parents on how to have a safe prom experience. It is part of the campaign called "Make this year's prom a night to remember-- for all the right reasons." It's a collaborative effort between police, school officials and local businesses. The goal is to highlight the consequences of underage drinking and drug use. And more importantly open up communication between parents and teens.

Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts said prom season is when more kids drink underage and more parents provide alcohol or at least a place to drink.

The task force suggests parents and their teen have a plan for the night and parents see it through. Parents should also discuss the dangers of drinking and driving and the legal ramifications of a minor in possession of alcohol.

"Because we know that young people who are having those conversations are far less likely to drink and engage in drug behavior," said Dr. Bruce Dyer, the substance abuse counselor at Westbrook High School.

Westbrook High School is using prom season to highlight the potential dangers, but also has been discussing teen alcohol and drug use throughout the year to make students more comfortable talking about it.

"It is communication. it is relationships. it is education. if we can connect with our youth and the adults that have a good influence with them then we have a better chance of them making the best choice," said Roberts.

In addition, law enforcement officials will be increasing patrols throughout the prom season and into graduation parties.


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