Vista, CA — While national news has focused on the recent sentencing of four Penn State college students for the tragic hazing death of Timothy Piazza in 2017, several local college students are making a positive difference by taking part in Operation Safe Graduation to urge their peers not to provide alcohol to minors.
High school and college students, educators, and professionals who work with youth gathered at the San Diego County Office of Education Friday April 5th to launch Operation Safe Graduation. The event serves as an important reminder that graduating high school students have “Too Much to Lose,” and with prom, graduation and summer around the corner, minors should celebrate being and staying alcohol-free.
Monica Imoto and Justin Luansing, both seniors at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), participated in the event. They are both interns with the North Coastal Prevention Coalition’s STOP project (Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking) and recognize the important role college students can play in keeping minors safe.
“In my household, my parents made sure my two older brothers and I would not drink alcohol, and made their expectations very clear,” Imoto shared. Parents play an important role in their children’s decision about alcohol. Students who don’t drink cite not wanting to disappoint their parents as a primary reason. But once they move away to college, older peers can help steer minors in the right direction to reinforce not wanting to disappoint their parents.
Justin Luansing is a criminal justice major at CSUSM and recognizes that law enforcement plays a key role in reducing underage drinking. All cities in San Diego County have social host ordinances, which hold party hosts accountable if they allow underage drinking. “If you know there is an underage drinking party in your neighborhood, it’s important to report it,” stated Luansing. “You never know if that call could end up saving someone’s life.”
The North Coastal Prevention Coalition (NCPC) is always looking for advocates of all ages to help prevent underage drinking. To get involved, please call 760-631-5000 x7174 or email [email protected].
If you or anyone you know is struggling with the academic or mental consequences of underage drinking, know that there is help available to you. The San Diego Access & Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week at (888) 724-7240.