A statewide push is underway to make sure parents strike underage drinking from the invitation list during parties this upcoming holiday season. According to the group Parents Matter, South Dakota teens drink at house parties more than any other place. That's why parents in 130 school districts are receiving letters and brochures alerting them to the problem. A Sioux Falls mom is fed-up with the teen partying in her neighborhood.
Police ticketed more than a dozen people after breaking up an underage party in a central Sioux Falls neighborhood this past weekend. Most of those ticketed were between 14 and 17 years old. A woman who lives in the upstairs apartment even received an invitation to their party.
Breathalyzer tubes still scattered throughout the parking lot are remnants of a weekend gathering that got out of control.
"There was a party downstairs; a lot of kids," Lateena said.
This woman, who only wanted to be identified by her first name, says underage drinking parties are far too commonplace in her neighborhood.
"Maybe a few times a month there's parties here with teens drinking. It's a big problem. Especially for the people here who have kids who have to hear it and see it," Lateena said.
It was a brazen request by one of the young partiers last Friday that alarmed Lateena.
"I had just gotten off work and my boyfriend and sister were here and one of the kids knocked on the door and asked if we would buy him alcohol, that he was having a party and he invited us down," Lateena said.
Lateena turned down both the invitation and the request to buy alcohol.
"And maybe a half-an-hour or 45-minutes later, the cops were here," Lateena said.
Lateena plans to move her family out of the neighborhood in a few months. She hopes a new residence will get her family and herself far removed from the problem of teen drinking.
"It's pretty scary considering that a lot of things can happen, not only to people who are drinking, but the people who are around the area," Lateena said.
Some parents may think since teens are going to drink anyway, it's better and safer to open up their house for a party that they can supervise. But Parents Matter reminds everyone that hosting an underage party is illegal.
Kids whose parents stand firmly against underage drinking are less likely to try alcohol.
To learn more about preventing teen drinking parties, go to the Parents Matter website.