By Jade Davis
When many people, especially teens, think of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, parties and freedom come to mind. Many are off from work and school and get to celebrate in old traditions as well as modern celebrations. It’s a very fun time, but sometimes the holiday spirit with easily accessible alcoholic beverages gets out of hand.
Many underage teens and young adults under 21 rely on college students of legal age to purchase alcohol for them when they come home, creating potential dangers, such as underage drinking and driving under the influence. If you know that this or something like this is happening, don’t feel pressured to join in this illegal and potentially dangerous behavior.
Holidays should be fun, so be careful if you are at parties and there is alcohol. Do not be the victim of “harmless fun,” resulting in arrests, car crashes, and other legal troubles. There are so many fun, festive activities to do that do not involve compromising your health or your character with substances. Here are a few things I like to do:
Watching the New Year’s ball drop
Cooking and baking
Going to a party with people you can trust
Dressing up in 2014 gear
Indoor rock climbing
If you find that you have been influenced by peer or other pressure or are really uncomfortable in a situation, take a deep breath, and know that you are okay. You can do something about it -- leave with a friend who is alcohol and drug-free, call an older sibling to pick you up, or call a parent.
Remember that you were lucky. Resolve next time to only engage in safe behaviors that make you feel truly comfortable and in control and with people that you trust. Hopefully, with this warning call and remembering the red flags next time, 2014 will be full of good health and good cheer.
Holidays are a time to be spent with family and friends, so be sure to surround yourself with people that you love, respect, and can trust. If you see anything that raises your red flags, leave.
No matter what you see happening in today’s society, celebrating your own health and smart decision-making will never go out of style. Be smart, fun, and healthy this holiday season and in the New Year!
Jade Davis is a sophomore at McLean High School and secretary of the Youth Council of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County.
The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County is a nonprofit organization with more than 60 community partners working together to keep youth and young adults safe and drug-free. Visit www.unifiedpreventioncoalition.org and www.facebook.com/unifiedpreventioncoalition. Follow the group on Twitter at www.twitter.com/keepyouthsafe.