Hosts providing alcohol should be held responsible
Commentary by Kristin Rosales, For the Express-News, October 2, 2016
I am 20 years old, and my underage friends have an easy time acquiring alcohol.
My collegiate experience has been different from my peers. I choose to stay sober in the midst of societal pressures. My friends applaud me for being sober and say that they wish to be like me. It is daunting how society sees inebriation as a form of celebration. I have continuously introduced the idea that they, too, can have fun without a drop of alcohol.
If I am applauded for being sober, I want to be able to applaud my peers for being aware that the environments we put each other in can be a recipe for disaster. How often have we heard of sexual assault at these parties? How often has someone been arrested for drinking and driving? How often has someone passed out from alcohol poisoning?
It is important that we recognize the ramifications of what youth and adults perceive as normal. Sometimes we can be the change we want to see in the world, and if it involves holding responsible the person who provided us with this toxic environment, then let it be. I am tired of seeing my peers fall into the vicious cycle of celebrating with alcohol. I want them to be prevented from these hazardous situations.
My first day back at the University of Texas at San Antonio this year consisted of people looking forward to the next party. It is unfortunate that society and our peers have decided this is a rite of passage. We are young adults; our brains are not done developing, and alcohol can put us at great risk for substance abuse.
I am not saying that I haven’t been to one of these parties. It has happened before; I thought my friends and I were getting together for a birthday and instead were taken to a house where alcohol was being served. This party did not just involve underage drinking; drugs were also being used. I was amazed because I thought this only happened in movies, but it proved to me how big and real this problem is. The party was broken up by police, and I was not scared because unlike my peers, I did not take anything.
The frustrating thing is that I assumed this would not happen again and that the arrival of police would stop them from having a party like that in the future, but I was wrong. The next weekend, my peers were at it again in the same house.
My close friends have heard this before and appreciate my designated-driving services. Being behind the wheel is one way I can keep them safe. A social host ordinance would make sure that the law is in the best interest of public safety for my peers who cannot recognize that being sober is a great thing.
I love my friends, but enough is enough! The status quo is not doing enough to send the message to them. Many of them have told of being caught multiple times at underage drinking parties, but the people who host them get away with it because they claim to not have furnished the alcohol. It is hard for a police officer to prove the provision of alcohol, and this is why the social host ordinance would close that loophole.
Alcohol is just the beginning of the problem and the easiest substance to acquire, but social hosts are facilitating the real problem — the space for substance use and its effects on society.
Kristen Rosales is a junior at UTSA majoring in digital communications.