Although most parents can agree that underage drinking is an unhealthy decision and a negative behavior in which they hope that their child(ren) is/are not engaging in, some also believe that if they provide the alcohol that it is somehow “safer” because their child(ren) is/are under their supervision. Some parents even consider underage drinking to be a “rite of passage to growing up and getting older” because they feel there is nothing adults can do to change youth drinking behaviors.
However, with the multitude of consequences outweighing the “perceived harmless effects”, we believe that underage drinking is NOT a privilege that should be allotted to any person under the age of 21 and it should NOT be considered a rite of passage in any shape or form! First and foremost, underage drinking is extremely dangerous because a teen’s body is not fully developed, and drinking alcohol can hinder this development–especially when we are talking about the teen brain. Underage drinking puts youth at risk for alcohol use disorder in addition to many other neurological and health-related issues. Additionally, alcohol harms and kills more youth than all illegal drugs, combined. For American youth, alcohol contributes to the top three causes of preventable death; murder, suicide, and car crashes. So, even under “adult supervision” in the home, ultimately, underage drinking is not safe.
We encourage our parents and guardians to NOT TO BE A PARTY to teenage drinking regardless of what their own teen experience may have been when they were young! Supplying teens with alcohol is also ILLEGAL! Social Host Ordinances are active in our community to discourage adults from providing alcohol to minors, providing fines and penalties for adults who allow youth to consume alcohol in their homes or on the property they own or lease.
All in all… underage drinking is not worth the trouble for the teen or the parents. It is not a privilege that should be given to teens under 21 years of age, nor should it be a rite of passage bestowed by parents.
Talking to Your Teen: Underage Drinking
“Talk. They Hear You.”®: SAMHSA Campaign
Download the “Talk. They Hear You.”® App or text “TALK” to 85775 for conversation starter ideas and tips!