How easy is it for underage kids to get alcohol?

| Feb 15, 2018 | Underage Drinking

Parents of teens may not want to hear it, but many junior high and high school kids drink alcohol. Even if your child doesn’t drink, he or she likely has been around kids who do. Where they obtain that alcohol and how easy it is for them to get may be unsettling.

The 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) asked kids from 12 through 20 who said they drank within the last 30 days where they had consumed it. More than half (51 percent) said they had been at another person’s home. Over a third (35 percent) said they had been in their own home. Further, 62 percent reported that they’d been with at least two other people when they drank.

Over half (57 percent) said they’d obtained the liquor from a family member or friend. A quarter of those said they’d gotten it from a parent, guardian or other adult in their family. Eight percent said they took it from their own home. Only 18 percent said they got it from someone else who was underage.

Most of the respondents (70 percent) said they didn’t pay for the alcohol. The 2016 Monitoring the Future survey, which studied 8th, 10th and 12th graders found that most of them said that alcohol was either “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain. The percentages went up with grade level (53 percent, 71 percent and 85 percent, respectively).

A 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that females were somewhat more likely to have obtained alcohol from someone else other than males were (49 percent compared to 40 percent).

There is some good news for parents. Young people had reported that their parents are the ones most likely to influence them not to drink or at least to avoid binge drinking.

It’s essential for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of consuming alcohol to their physical health, their brains and their safety. Kids who consume alcohol increase their risk of being physically and sexually assaulted.

There are also potential legal consequences for those who drink when they are underage. If your child has been arrested for underage drinking, it’s important to take the matter seriously and seek experienced legal guidance.

Source: Foundation for Advanced Alcohol Responsibility, “Underage Drinking Statistics,” accessed Feb. 13, 2018

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