While the great majority of our high school students are not drinking alcohol, more than half of those who do report using alcohol are binge drinking. 

These images are just a few of our message campaigns about prevention.

Don't Host an Underage Drinking Party

Pick your pledge from this collection, display it in your selfie, and post it with “Ossining Pride” on our Facebook page.

Each year at the Village Fair, Ossining residents have the chance to learn about impaired driving by wearing “Foggles” that simulate the physical capacity of a .08 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), which is the legal definition of intoxication.

Defining Underage Drinking

In New York State it is against the law for persons under 21 to possess alcohol with the intention of consuming it. There are certain exceptions to this prohibition: Examples include where the tasting or swallowing of liquor is required in courses that are part of a student’s curriculum (e.g. a wine tasting course in college), when the purchase is made as part of law enforcement activity, when the consumption is required for religious practice, and most notably, if parents choose to give their child liquor in the privacy of their home, this is not illegal, in moderate amounts.

Learn the facts about underage drinking here.

Compliance Checks in Ossining

Randomly timed, unannounced compliance checks are conducted throughout the year by the Ossining Police to help ensure that our youth are not able to purchase alcohol.  Shutting down purchases made by others on behalf of underage drinkers is also a police priority.  Sellers of alcohol who comply with the law are given a certificate to display in their place of business, so be sure to support those retailers who have passed their most recent compliance check.

Responsible alcohol retailers can learn about best practices at the Federal Trade Commission’s We Don’t Serve Teens site.

Hosting a Drinking Party: Westchester County Social Host Laws

Social host laws govern the use of, and allowing access to, alcohol in social settings, as opposed to commercial hosts that sell alcohol to consumers.  Westchester County has its own social host law, which “establishes fines for knowingly allowing a party, gathering, or event where minors are present and alcoholic beverages are consumed by one or more minors.”  Parents can be liable for “allowing” the party in their home even if they do not provide the alcohol.  If you know about it, you are obligated to do something to stop it.  Depending on the number of prior offenses, punishment ranges from fines to possible imprisonment.

Furthermore, New York State’s social host laws impose civil liability on those who permit underage drinking in their home; they may be held responsible for any resulting damage or injury.  Parents have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of underage persons while on their property or under their care, custody and control.  Parents have a duty to monitor parties hosted by their children.

Parents who serve alcohol to their children in their home need to understand they may serve ONLY their own children, regardless of whether other parents consent to their child being served alcohol in another’s home.  And the “host” is not the only potential offender in this scenario.  In New York State it is against the law for persons under 21 to possess alcohol (not given to them by their parent or legal guardian) with the intention of consuming it.

Permitting your own or another’s child to consume too much alcohol may constitute endangerment. A parent or guardian may be arrested if they knowingly provide unreasonable amounts of alcoholic beverages, illicit or prescription drugs (not prescribed to the child) in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 years of age.

Anyone other than a parent or legal guardian who gives or sells, or causes to be given or sold, any alcoholic beverage to a person less than 21 years old can be charged with unlawfully dealing with a child in the first degree—a class A misdemeanor.  Older siblings, friendly uncles, that stranger who is approached by teens in front of the liquor store, should all think twice before agreeing to buy the booze for an underage party.

The attempt to purchase alcohol by presenting fake ID—even if the attempt is unsuccessful—can result in fines, required community service, and the suspension of a teen’s license.  In addition, and depending on the circumstances, forgery and criminal impersonation charges may apply.

Ossining Tipline for Anonymous Reporting

For the protection of our youth, and the community at large, Ossining residents are encouraged to report underage drinking if they know about it, or encounter it personally in our town.  A call to the Ossining police at 914 941-5702 is all it takes, and you can request to remain anonymous.

Addressing the Binge Drinking Problem

At the national level, binge drinking accounts for more than 90 percent of all the alcohol consumed by underage drinkers.  Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for a male and 4 or more for a female.   In Ossining, 51% percent of our high school drinkers are binge drinkers (Source: NYS Youth Development Survey 2015).  So if your teen is drinking, there is a pretty good chance he or she is binge drinking.   Binge drinking and drinking games are especially risky for a young person, increasing blood alcohol content rapidly and potentially leading to alcohol poisoning. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains the Dangers of Drinking Too Much. Learn more about teen drinking habits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the consequences of underage drinking as identified by the Surgeon General.

Find Out How You Can Help to Keep Alcohol Inaccessible to Ossining Youth

We can all make a difference, individually and collectively.  Learn more here.

Why Lowering the Legal Drinking Age Is Not a Solution

By the late eighties, all fifty states had adopted 21 as the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) under threat of having their federal highway funding cut back.  Before that shift, underage drunk drivers were involved in over twice as many fatal traffic crashes as today.  Safer cars and roads, and more effective driver’s education account for only a fraction of this statistical improvement.  But the debate continues about whether 21 is the “right” age to begin consuming alcohol, with myths surrounding the arguments to lower the MLDA, and some college presidents petitioning to lower the age rather than address the drinking problems on their campuses in a more student-centric way. However, studies continue to support the efficacy of a higher, not lower, MLDA.   You can read more about the research and statistics in these pages and PDFs from MADD, AlcoholPolicyMD, and Alcohol Justice.

Myths

Research

Alcohol justice

Drinking and Driving

An estimated three of every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related traffic crash at some time in their lives.  Will you be one of them?

New York is a ZERO TOLERANCE state for underage drinkers who get behind the wheel with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) of .02% or higher.   Besides the suspension/revocation of driving privileges that may result, conviction can bring exponential increases to a parent’s car insurance rates.

An adult driver in New York is considered to be ability impaired if his or her BAC is between .05% and .07%. Driving while intoxicated means a driver’s BAC is .08% or higher. Aggravated driving while intoxicated indicates a BAC of .18% or higher.

You can learn more about impaired driving, including driving while drug-impaired, using these links:

NYS Impaired Driving Violations and Penalties

Leandra’s Law

New York’s Stop DWI Program

Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)
Amnesty for Good Samaritans: What Every Teen Should Know

Most alcohol emergencies and drug overdoses happen in someone’s home, with other people present. But they don’t call 911—out of fear of being arrested or getting in trouble themselves.  Young people should be informed of, and regularly reminded about, New York’s Good Samaritan law.  They should never hesitate to call 911 if they are experiencing or witnessing a drug- or alcohol-related emergency.  The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cautions that someone who is passed out could die, and should be given medical attention right away.

New York State’s Good Samaritan law provides legal protection for 911 callers against criminal charge and prosecution for underage drinking, possession of controlled substances (under 8 ounces), as well as possession of any amount of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and sharing drugs. These protections apply to the person seeking assistance as well as the person needing help. These protections do not extend to outstanding warrants, those with pending court cases, probation or parole violations, felony-amounts of possession, drug sales, and other nondrug crimes. To fully understand the scope and limits of these protections, visit the NYS Good Samaritan page.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning

See the Must Help acronym on this page and learn more at AwareAwakeAlive.

%

of Ossining 8th graders DON'T drink alcohol

(Source:  NYS Youth Development Survey, November 2015 at OHS and AMD. Teens reporting no alcohol use in the past 30 days.)

%

of 8th graders nationwide DON'T drink alcohol

(Source:  Monitoring the Future, University of Michigan 2015. Teens reporting no alcohol use in the past 30 days.)

%

of Ossining 10th graders DON'T drink alcohol

(Source:  NYS Youth Development Survey, November 2015 at OHS and AMD. Teens reporting no alcohol use in the past 30 days.)

%

of 10th graders nationwide DON'T drink alcohol

(Source:  Monitoring the Future, University of Michigan 2015. Teens reporting no alcohol use in the past 30 days.)

%

of Ossining 12th graders DON'T drink alcohol

(Source:  NYS Youth Development Survey, November 2015 at OHS and AMD. Teens reporting no alcohol use in the past 30 days.)

%

of 12th graders nationwide DON'T drink alcohol

(Source:  Monitoring the Future, University of Michigan 2015. Teens reporting no alcohol use in the past 30 days.)

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OSSINING IS THE

COMMUNITY THAT

Comes together to secure the long-term health and well-being of Ossining youth and their families

Assists our residents—especially parents and young people—by providing education, resources, and services for substance-abuse response and prevention

Reduces the use of alcohol and drugs in Ossining and prevents underage drinking

Esteems the accomplishments of our young people and supports them in making smart choices

Reach Out to Us

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Ossining Communities That Care | Alice Joselow, Coordinator | 165 Main Street | Ossining, NY 10562 | 914-502-1304

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