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Editorial: Don't mix alcohol with graduation

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Graduates, don't toss off your cap and gown and then pick up a beer.

Parents, don't throw your child an alcohol-filled bash to celebrate the end of a high school career.

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We remind you that either of those actions could end in tragedy.

The Goodhue County Chemical Health Initiative has had marked success in discouraging underage drinking. The program has tackled the issue through education and enforcement.

Thanks to CHI, serving alcohol at local graduation parties is no longer socially acceptable. Public forums, school assemblies and classroom discussions are getting the word out that early drinking leads to lifelong problems.

Goodhue County adopted a social host ordinance a couple years ago that holds the property owner accountable for any illegal alcohol consumption. Nearly every municipality in the county has a similar law.

The CHI also continues to conduct compliance checks with retailers, who can be fined if a clerk sells alcohol to someone under 21.

These efforts are having positive results: Consider that our region has seen very few graduation-time crashes and fatalities in recent years.

We need to keep it that way. Let young adult lives -- not their sorrows -- commence.

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