Adults who in any way aid or abet minors in buying or consuming alcohol and/or harder drugs should be punished severely. They are putting young people at great risk, and that should not be tolerated.
Area residents have ample evidence that helping juveniles obtain alcohol and allowing them use of homes for parties is dangerous business. Just a few years ago, a Moundsville teenager died of alcohol poisoning after drinking too much at a party where adults were present. Last year, a Weirton girl was raped by two Steubenville boys after attending a party at someone's house.
Yet adults continue to enable - even encourage - drinking parties involving teenagers. Some adults claim teens will drink one way or another, and it's better to provide them a "safe" place to do so.
That simply is not a valid excuse.
Law enforcement officials come across such "house parties" on a fairly regular basis. Just last weekend, West Virginia State Police investigating an unrelated matter happened upon a house party in Valley Grove.
State Police Sgt. Jason Laing told our reporter it is suspected underage drinking and use of other drugs may have been going on at the party. It remains under investigation.
Laing added it is illegal to host a party where underage drinking occurs. "If there is evidence that corroborates a suspicion that (an adult is) aware and/or complicit in some way, then you'll be charged," Laing added.
State police are right to consider enforcing that statute as a priority. Though law enforcement agencies certainly have plenty of important work to do, cracking down on adults who help minors drink should be near the top of their to-do lists - because it may save lives.
If investigators find adults were aware of the Valley Grove party, the guilty people should be arrested and, if found guilty in court, punished severely.