There are many things that contribute to underage drinking and problems with alcohol in our community; community norms such as social acceptance of heavy drinking; access and availability; (alcohol in family homes that’s easy for youth to get); media messages that often glamorize excessive drinking especially among young people to name a few.
To really be effective in reducing underage drinking and preventing alcohol problems, our community must take shared responsibility for creating conditions that support positive choices about alcohol. EVERYONE can help and here are just a few ways to get started:
- Limit access and monitor alcohol when young people are in your home
- Parents set clear rules and talk to your kids about alcohol
- Hold adults accountable for providing alcohol to underage youth
- Limit Alcohol sales and advertising at community events
- Merchants Practice Responsible Beverage Service – Don’t sell to minors!
Coalition partners and members focus year round on strengthening community conditions to prevent underage drinking and alcohol abuse. There is some good news to share with local underage drinking rates declining both locally and nationally. But it’s no time to relax and declare victory. Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors. Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol related accidents and thousands more are injured.
- Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
- Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
- Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
- More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year about 4.65 a day as a result of alcohol related injuries.
- 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol use disorder is in their family.
- Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.