Binge drinking is 4 or more drinks for women or 5 ore more drinks for men in one setting.
Heavy drinking is more than 8 drinks for women or more than 15 drinks for men in one week.
Underage drinking is considered substance abuse because, in the United States, it is illegal for any under 21 years old to buy or use alcohol.
3 in 4 teens (75%) say parents/guardians are the leading influence
on their decision about drinking alcohol.
There is a common misconception that adults can teach youth how to drink responsibly by allowing them to drink in a safe setting. This typically stems from a generational practice – their parents allowed them to drink alcohol as teens and they turned out just fine, so it will be fine if they allow their child to drink alcohol too. However, when adults allow youth to drink at home to provide a safe environment and take away the “mystery” of alcohol, youth are likely to interpret this as it is acceptable to drink alcohol outside the home as well. There is no safe amount of exposure to alcohol for the developing brain. Whether parents/guardians agree or disagree, it is still illegal.
Providing alcohol to minors can results in fines up to $500 or 1 year in jail.
Think about it this way – what other drug would parents/guardians allow their child to experiment with at home? Marijuana? Opioids? Probably not. There is no difference with alcohol.
It is also common for alcohol to be associated with celebrations – holidays, milestones, etc. It is extremely important to model for your youth that they can have fun without alcohol or other drugs.
Alcohol Prevention & Safety Tips
- Store alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks in separate places.
- Label everyone’s drinks with their name so that youth do not accidentally consume alcohol.
- Have a sober adult monitor the alcoholic beverages to prevent youth consumption or over-consumption by adults.
- Always have non-alcoholic drinks available for both youth and for adults who do not drink alcohol.
- Talk with other adults about hosting alcohol free youth events. Unity creates an enforceable message.
- Agree to report underage drinking to police promptly – don’t try to protect youth or other parents/guardians from consequences.
- Reassure youth that they can call you when they are in trouble – that doesn’t mean there will not be consequences for their actions but it is more important for them to be safe.
- Establish agreed upon consequences and enforce them consistently. If a young person comes home drunk, don’t try to talk to them that night. Talk to them the next day when they’re sober.
- Emphasize that “Don’t Drink and Drive” includes vehicles such as 4 wheelers, side by sides, boats, etc.
It is equally important to be careful about associating alcohol with stress. Model healthy stress management and coping strategies such as exercising, deep breathing/meditation, unplugging/disconnecting from electronics and social media, and connecting with others.
Alcohol Initiatives by Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County
Responsible Beverage Server (RBS) Training
Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County provides free vouchers to local alcohol retailers and restaurants for Server Training in Alcohol Regulations (STAR) through Kentucky’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).
Project Sticker Shock
Each year leading up to graduation, Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County places stickers on cases of alcohol at participating retailers to remind adults that providing alcohol to minors can result in fines up to $500 or 1 year in jail.
Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County loans I.D. Scanners at no-costs to local organizations and businesses for fairs and festivals.
Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County publishes results of compliance checks from KY Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) quarterly and helps conduct compliance checks as needed.
Stop Underage Drinking for Parents & Educators
Underage Drinking (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC)
2023 Alcohol Compliance Project: Infographic, Media Release, and Full Report