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Serving Alcohol to Teens: Unsafe, Illegal, and Irresponsible

pwhlogoThe legal drinking age protects kids. Did you know that since laws established 21 as the minimum drinking age, the likelihood that a 15-20 year old driver will be involved in a fatal car crash has dropped by more than half? Additionally, the teen brain continues developing well into the mid-20s, so by encouraging youth to obey the law, you are also encouraging healthy brain development.

Unfortunately, too many teens still say alcohol is easy to get and a U.S. government survey shows that most of those who drink alcohol do not buy it themselves. Instead, they get it from older friends, from family members, at parties or they take it from home without permission. Further, once kids start drinking, most engage in binge€ drinking, meaning that they have five or more drinks in a short time-span with a goal of getting drunk. This is why the “€œParents Who Host, Lose the Most” campaign encourages parents to refrain from providing alcohol to minors, especially during graduation open house season. Not only is serving alcohol to youth at these parties against the law, it sends a message that drinking is okay as a teen.

Additionally, the DontServeTeens.gov site provides parents with things to do and say to reduce teen access to alcohol. It recommends that parents keep track of alcohol at home, speak up when underage drinking is discussed and to be frank and tell other parents that you don’€™t want them serving alcohol to your teen. We can reduce underage drinking by stopping easy access to alcohol from social sources like parties and older friends.

The message is simple, don’t provide alcohol to teens because it is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible. Fortunately, most adults agree about this—in fact, only 9 percent of American adults think that it is okay for adults to provide alcohol to underage youth.

Talking to your kids about the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs is a first step toward the development of healthy lifestyle patterns. For those parents looking for ways to start the conversation with their child about drugs and alcohol, a number of great free resources are available here.

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