Underage drinking bust long overdue

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 18, 1999

It won’t make the holiday season particularly merry for some folks, but this weekend’s crackdown on underage drinking in Concordia Parish is much-needed.

The roundup, organized Friday night by members of the Louisiana Alcohol and Tobacco Control, netted more than 30 arrests involving illegal purchase or possession of alcohol.

For too long, Natchez and its surrounding communities have taken a &uot;don’t ask&uot; approach to underage drinking — particularly among young adults in the 17- to 21-year-old range. With a wink and a smile, too many adults are ignoring the problem and chalking it up to a rite of passage in Miss-Lou society.

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But it’s not a rite of passage.

It’s a problem — a serious one.

When a community has reports of drunken teenagers passing out at the wheel while waiting at a stoplight, or drunken teenagers finding themselves hospitalized with alcohol poisoning, it’s not simply a rite of passage.

It’s an abuse of a dangerous and illegal drug.

And until more adults and leaders are willing to step up and say &uot;enough is enough&uot; the abuse will continue in our community.

We support the agents who conducted the crackdown on Friday night, and we applaud the parents whose calls and complaints led to the effort.

More important, we challenge all of them to continue focusing on the problem and resolving it – whether that means similar crackdowns in Adams County or simply stepping forward as a role model and advocate of following the law.

We need to work together as a community to thwart the spread of underage drinking.