Study: Parents Allow Kids To Drink Alcohol And Use Drugs While At Home

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 5, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: "Back of the Book" segment tonight, a new study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse asked teenagers and parents separately about what goes on — what really goes on — at teen parties.

Eighty percent of parents said no way booze or drugs are used at those parties. But 50 percent of teenagers say that the parties they attend have ready access to alcohol and drugs. So who's telling the truth?

Joining us now from Chicago, the syndicated columnist Amy Dickinson. You know, this is interesting on a number of different levels. Because I don't think people tell the truth to polls. Ninety-nine percent of the parents polled say they would never serve alcohol at a party or allow drug use in their house. But 28...

AMY DICKINSON, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: We know — we know that's a lie.

O'REILLY: We do. How do we know?

DICKINSON: Well, we know because I can think of 10 parents who do or would serve alcohol and do permit this sort of thing at their homes. So, yes, I know 10 people. How about you?

O'REILLY: I don't know any, but nobody would tell me. You know what I mean? I mean, nobody would dare to me, "Hey, O'Reilly, I let my kid smoke pot in the living room and I'm in the kitchen." No one, Ms. Dickinson, would say that to me. But...

DICKINSON: Let me tell you, Bill, I have a teenage daughter, and I hear from — pretty much from ground zero what's going on. Yes.

O'REILLY: So look, here's the crux of the matter. Twenty-eight percent of American teenagers say they've attended parties where parents are in the house, where illegal drugs are there and booze is there. That's a third. That's almost a third of American kids said, "Look I've been to the party. The parents are here and they don't care, or they let it go on."


O'REILLY: So I think that's a pretty startling statistic.

DICKINSON: Well, wait a minute. It may not be a case that the parents don't care or that the are letting it happen. I think it could also be a case of how easy it is to slip stuff into parties.

And let me tell you, experienced parents of teens, when they have parties and if they don't want this going on, they are virtual security guards. They search. They police. And they are absolutely present at any gathering that has more than a few kids.

O'REILLY: Yes, but look, I'm not buying that for a minute. If I'm allowing a teenage party at my house, I'm at the party. I drop in. I don't hang.


O'REILLY: I couldn't stand the music, OK? So, I come in for 30, 40 seconds.


O'REILLY: As soon as Snoop Dogg comes on, I'm history.

DICKINSON: But you know what you do? You know what...

O'REILLY: I can tell — what I'm trying to say is I can tell if somebody has got vodka in the Dr. Pepper can just by looking at his face. I can smell marijuana. All right. I can tell if somebody is taking a Quaalude. That's not hard to do.


O'REILLY: So, I mean, there's no excuse. As parents you've got to come down and you've got to check.

DICKINSON: Right. And you know, there are little tricks. You keep the snack bowls really small, and you so have to keep coming in to fill them. You...

O'REILLY: I don't need a trick. I don't need a trick. It's my house. I'm coming down and seeing what's going on. I don't need a trick.

DICKINSON: I hosted a party recently for a 21-year-old, and everyone was legal but barely. And I got so nervous right beforehand because, you know, I'm liable for anything that happens in my home.

O'REILLY: You bet. Well, 21 is tough.

DICKINSON: And let me tell you — listen, I pulled the guest of honor aside beforehand, and I said: "I am really, really concerned about this. I cannot have overdrinking in my home."

And she said, "Wow, you know what? Good to know, because that's sort of what we do."

And I said, "Not here."

O'REILLY: Not here, boy. The first person who throws up on the carpet buys the carpet. Big sign: "Vomit on the carpet, you pay for it."

But look, let's get serious, though. There is in this country, there are parents who say: "I did it. Didn't hurt me. So I'm going to let little Sally and little Freddie smoke their little pot in the cellar or get bombed." You know? And I think that's the point of the survey, is that this is a growing thing in America. Is it?

DICKINSON: Well, I think it is. I look at my mail bag coming into my advice column, and there's a lot of mail about this from parents. And it shocks me how many parents actually say to me, "Gosh, I don't know what to do. My 17-year-old wants to drink. I don't know what to say."

And I think hello, you know, you have to say no, and you have to make your values absolutely crystal clear to your kids.

O'REILLY: You have to also explain, you know, why you're telling them why they can't do it. I think you just can't say no, because then there's no logic behind it. But I agree with you.


O'REILLY: If the rules are you're under age, it's against the law, I'd let the kid taste it, you know, have a sip of wine or a sip of beer.


O'REILLY: But if the guy wants to chug a six, I mean, not going to do it here. And if you do it anywhere else and get in trouble, you're on your own.

All right, Ms. Dickinson.

DICKINSON: The thing is...

O'REILLY: Go ahead. Last word.

DICKINSON: Parents, we did this, but we didn't do it under our parent's noses, right?

O'REILLY: No, we were sneaky.

DICKINSON: My kid's not going to do — yes, we were sneaky.

O'REILLY: Very sneaky. I never did it, because I was boring.

DICKINSON: Of course.

O'REILLY: But all my friends were sneaky.

Thanks, Ms. Dickinson. We appreciate it.

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