WOOD COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - It's no secret that underage drinking carries heavy penalties, but teens will still continue to drink and some parents will continue to provide the alcohol.
Officials are urging parents and students however, to stay sober this prom and graduation season.
What could seem like a harmless night of fun with friends, could cost your child dearly.
If caught drinking they could face, jail time, court appearances, and hefty fines. That's why so many are working to keep them from making the wrong choice as they head into prom season.
"It is not a rite of passage," said Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn. "It's very, very serious when underage people consume alcohol and someone knowingly or recklessly gives them that alcohol. It's very severe."
Get ready to pay big if your underage child drinks and drives. They could be in jail, or in court - not to mention the charges could stay on their record and impact their future college and career.
"We look at those records also depending on their age and how many years back we are going, we'll look at the juvenile record," explained Sheriff Wasylyshyn.
The Wood County Sheriff says it's not just children at risk, but also those providing the alcohol. The saying, "parents who host lose the most" is accurate especially if someone is hurt.
"We're going to track down where did the alcohol come from when there is an injury or death and the lawsuits on that are very, very significant so that's going to be much more severe than the criminal side," said Sheriff Wasylyshyn.
Wood County Educational Service Center says they have been preaching alcohol and drug prevention to their nine school districts since second grade.
"Combining those three things together: reducing access, fear of harm, and peer approval, we can again hope that the kids make their right choices," said Kyle Clark, supervisor of the prevention education program.
They have seen success. Since 2004 alcohol use among high school seniors decreased 35% and binge drinking decreased 55%, but they urge students to think about their future this prom and graduation season.
"Whatever those plans are, the choices they make today will affect those very important decisions facing them tomorrow," explained Clark.
Educators also stress you should talk with your child, have open and honest conversations with them about the topic to ensure they make wise decisions.
Rossford and Otsego are celebrating their proms on April 22; Northwood, North Baltimore and Eastwood on April 29; Elmwood and Bowling Green High School on May 6; and Lake and Perrysburg on May 13.