PROMise to Keep It Safe
Make sure prom night is a positive experience you'll always remember; don't drink alcohol or use any other substances that will compromise your ability to make good decisions.
- Discuss plans with your friends/date ahead of time. Know your agenda and communicate with your parents.
- Plan ahead what you will say or do if someone offers you alcohol or another illegal drug. Use phrases such as, "No thanks," "Are you kidding? I want to remember this night!," or "Actually, I'd rather have a soda. Do you have one?"
- Know your date before you go. If your date is a set-up, try to take a walk at a park or go for a smoothie before the big night. Both you and your parents will feel better about you staying out late with someone you know.
- Find out what your curfew is and share it with your date/friends before prom night. Discuss with your parents after-curfew possibilities (the party at your friend's house or early morning breakfast at your place).
- Ask a trusted adult to be near a phone and to be available prom night in case you need to call them, and carry enough change with you to make several phone calls.
- Take your, or borrow your parent's, cell phone and slip it into your purse or pocket.
Get to Your Destination Safely
- Keep an eye on your date/driver to make sure he/she doesn't drink any alcohol. Alcohol slows reaction time and impairs vision, clear thinking, judgment, and coordination.
- There are more drunk drivers on the roads during the weekend. Keep a close eye on oncoming drivers, as impaired drivers tend to drive toward lights.
- Know where you're going before prom night and have directions to those places.
- After your red light turns green, wait a second before pulling into the intersection, just to be safe.
- Drive on well lit roads, and carry a phone if possible. That way, if you get a flat tire, you're not stranded, waving down a cab with your silk tie or sequin purse.
- Beautiful girls are distracting enough -- keep the radio volume turned low enough so your driver can concentrate on getting you to the fun. And don't forget your seat belt!
- Make sure the car has enough gas to get where you're going (besides, parents are definitely on to the "But we ran out of gas" excuse!).
- Remember -- if you find yourself in an uncomfortable position, or if the driver isn't safe, have enough money with you to call a friend or a cab.
Ways to Have Fun without Drinking
- Go to a late-night diner all dressed up and order fries and a milkshake; it'll hit the spot and you'll get tons of attention!
- Buy a bunch of one-use cameras, pass them around to your friends, and set a goal to use every last picture before the night is through!
- Have a "Cranium" or "Act One" party at someone's house; don't forget to have lots of sodas, chips, and dips. You'll be hungry after all that dancing!
- Host a karaoke party at your house, in a friend's barn, or at a local Elks or Rotary lodge.
- Visit an arcade with your date or with a group, and challenge each other to a game or two.
- Ask your local YMCA if you can plan an after-prom basketball tournament. Bring your favorite CDs to play in the background.
- Go to a late night coffee house and relive the evening for hours!
- After prom, gather in a friend's house or backyard, take your shoes off, turn up the music, and really dance! Don't forget to notify neighbors and police of your special event, and don't let guests come and go.
Things You Can Do In Your Community
- Before prom, work with your local law enforcement agency to plan a compliance check to help the police identify area retail alcohol outlets that are illegally selling alcohol to people under 21.
- Work with school officials to organize an assembly that sends positive messages about abstaining from alcohol and other drugs and shows the possible consequences.
- Work with your school's prom committee to plan a fun and safe after-prom celebration.
- Prepare facts and statistics about alcohol consumption and consequences for use/abuse and make school announcements.
- Help your or your friends' little brother or sister say "no" to alcohol. See if your local elementary school knows about "Protecting You/Protecting Me", an alcohol prevention curriculum for grades 1-5.
- Call your local MADD chapter and ask how you can prevent underage drinking in your community.
Stats You Need to Know
- Contrary to what you may hear or see, most teens aren't drinking. 81% of adolescents age 12 to 17 have chosen NOT to drink in the past year. (SAMHSA, 1999)
- 65% of 12th graders disapprove of consuming five or more drinks once or twice each weekend. (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 1996)
- You may be alive today because the legal drinking age is 21. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates these laws have saved over 18,820 lives from 1975-1999. (NHTSA, 1999)
- Females process alcohol differently than males; smaller amounts of alcohol are more intoxicating for females regardless of their size. (NHTSA, 1990)
- The same amount of alcohol is in a 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 12-ounce wine cooler, and a 5-ounce glass of wine.
- Among male high school students, 39% say it is acceptable for a boy to force sex with a girl who is drunk or high. (US Dept. of HHS, 1992)
- Even though youth are less likely than adults to drive after drinking, their crash rates are substantially higher. (NIAAA, 1996)
- Alcohol in the #1 youth drug problem (CSAP, 1996); it kills 6 times more people under 21 than all other illicit drugs combined. (PIRE, Ted Miller, Ph.D.)