High school graduates

Teens: Celebrate Your Graduation Safely

Graduation is finally here! Let me guess, you suddenly feel older, more mature, and ready for anything? You are on your way into the work force or heading off to college. Either way, freedom is within reach and it is time to celebrate! There are so many parties, dinners, and other events, all in you and your peers’ honor. Temptation will surround you. Peer pressure will be high, and the euphoria of the event will be a different pressure. You may think something like, “if I have one drink, it is not a big deal, I deserve to celebrate.” You may hear, “just have one drink, it won’t hurt you.” Before you give into the temptation, know the facts. It could save your life, a friend’s life, or a stranger’s life.

Did you know?

  • 40, 000 people die every year in motor vehicle accidents
  • 16,000 of those deaths are alcohol or drug related
  • Graduation night is one night where impaired driving is most likely
  • There is a zero tolerance law for impaired driving under the age of 20

What are possible consequences of impaired driving?

  • Death of you, a friend, or stranger
  • Serious injury of you, a friend, or stranger
  • Loss of scholarships
  • Incarceration
  • Suspension or Revocation of your driver’s license
  • Fines

Think about this before you drink/drug drive. You have a best friend that you have known since you were eight years old. You both are excited about the after graduation party. You drive you and your best friend to the party. You both decide to have a few drinks and you even take a hit off the joint being passed around. After all, it is your night and you have the right to celebrate. That is the last thing you remember and now you are waking up in the hospital. You are seriously injured, but far worse, you find out that your best friend was killed in a car accident on the way home from the party, and you are responsible. Situations like this have happened before and it CAN happen to you? Do you want to wake up in the hospital with serious injuries and someone telling you that you are responsible for the death of your best friend? I doubt it.

What can you do to keep yourself and others safe?

  • Don’t drink or take drugs
  • If you are impaired, call for a ride (taxi, sober friend or family member, ect.)
  • Have a designated driver
  • Do not get in a car with anyone who is impaired
  • Sleep over

We can’t predict what others may do. So if you are riding with friends, have a plan if they become impaired. Know who you can call, be willing to ask for the keys, and if possible find out if they plan on drinking before going to the party with them. You may need to make alternate arrangements to get to the party.

It is an exciting time and you should celebrate your success. Your success can end in a matter of seconds with one bad decision. True freedom comes with smart decisions. Celebrate your entry into your adult life by making good decisions on your graduation night. Stay safe by staying sober.