Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 10:42 pm | Overcast 58º


Letter to the Editor: Preventing Underage Drinking, Drug Use Needs to Be Community Effort

As a teenager, I have noticed that there is a new drug and alcohol trend among my peers. That trend is underage drinking and drug use on party buses.

I know these bus companies market themselves to adults; however, teens are able to reserve and rent a bus for their celebration.

I was surprised by what my peers were doing, specifically the amount of alcohol they were consuming. However, what shocked me the most was that the bus companies were allowing teenagers to rent their buses and to use drugs and alcohol on board. This violates a public utilities code, in that they’re allowing minors to consume alcohol and drugs.

If a minor is caught consuming alcohol on a charter bus, the driver must cancel the trip and contact all proper authorities; however, bus companies weren’t following the proper protocol. As a company they have a responsibility in preventing alcohol and drug use by minors. Also the bus drivers, as adults, have a responsibility to speak up and prevent underage drinking.

I would like to mention that I’m a student leader through Friday Night Live, a prevention program through the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. I brought up this issue to our club advisor and he brought it to the attention of the Fighting Back Steering Committee. On April 20, local law enforcement, the superintendent of the Santa Barbara Unified School District, a representative of the Public Utilities Commission office and representatives from the bus companies met and spoke about PUC codes. The attendees also discussed ways they can prevent youth from consuming alcohol on their buses.

I believe this meeting was a wake-up call to all of the bus companies. We hope that bus companies realize that preventing underage drinking and drug use is not up to one agency or program but a team effort among the whole community.

I would like to thank you for covering this issue and for your efforts in informing our community about this trend. I believe that with the help of the community we can make our town a healthier and safer place for all youth.

Marina Morales
Santa Barbara

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