Teen drinking is everywhere, even though it's illegal. So how do teens get alcohol?
Teens have easy access to alcohol at parties and can get it from older friends or from their parents' liquor cabinets. Unlike drug use, moderate alcohol use is considered acceptable in most adult social circles. Teens see parents enjoying a martini or a glass of wine after work to relax or during dinner, so they think drinking makes them more grown up.
Also, parents' approval of underage drinking sends the wrong message to teens: that alcohol use is okay. It's not okay. Any use of alcohol by teens is dangerous. People who start drinking as teenagers are more likely to become alcoholics. They may have problems later because alcohol affects how the brain and body grow. Also, drinking put teens in harm's way when they're out having fun, especially while driving.
A 2005 American Medical Association (AMA) survey of teens age 13 to 18 found that minors can easily obtain alcohol, often from family or friends. Here are more surprising facts:
- Two out of three teens say it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without parents knowing about it.
- Two out of five teens say that it is easy to get alcohol from a friend's parents.
- One in four teens has attended a party where minors were drinking in front of parents.
- Nearly one in four teens, and one in three girls, say their own parents have given them alcohol.
- For teens who have gotten alcohol in the past six months, parents have been the supplier about three times.
Do you give teens alcohol? If so, you're breaking the law and harming teens.
Another AMA survey found:
- About one in 4 parents with children age 12 to 20 think teens should be able to drink at home when the parents are there.
- One in 4 parents say they have allowed their teens to drink under their supervision in the past six months. One in 12 parents allowed their teen's friends to drink under their supervision.
- Although 7 out of 10 parents disagreed with the statement “teen drinking was okay if a parent were present,” 3 out of 4 of those same parents believe it is likely that teens obtain alcohol from a parent with their knowledge.
It is against the law for you or any adult to give your teen or other teens alcohol. You may be fined or put in jail if you supply alcohol to anyone younger than 21. If you give alcohol to your teen or other teens and they kill someone or are killed in a car crash related to a DUI, you will face charges, jail time, and fines.