For Teens, Alcohol is an Illegal and Dangerous Drug.
Don’t be a Party to Teenage Drinking!
According to Kentucky Statute KRS 244.085 (3): “A person under 21 years of age shall not possess for his or her own use or purchase or attempt to purchase or have another purchase for him or her any alcoholic beverages. No person shall aid or assist any person under 21 years of age in purchasing or having delivered or served to him or her any alcoholic beverage.” Nevertheless, in 2016, 1 in 5 (20%) Grant County 10th graders reported consuming alcohol in the last 30-days; and 1 in 10 (12%) of these students reported binge drinking (5+ drinks in a row in the last two weeks). KIP Survey, 2016
So how, if underage drinking is illegal and it is illegal to sell or provide alcohol to a minor, are so many young people in Grant County and across Kentucky gaining access to alcohol? In 2016, more than half (52%) of Grant County 10th grade youth said that alcohol is easy get; and reported if they drank alcohol, they primarily got the alcohol through social sources, including friends, parents, and other adults. KIP Survey, 2016
Many well-intended parents believe they are keeping their kids and their kid’s young friends safe by taking away the keys and allowing youth to drink at home. However, the truth is, there is no way to guarantee a safe environment when alcohol is involved. Taking away the keys does not take away the risks.
- Death — 4,300 youth in the U.S. die every year from alcohol-related incidents. CDC, 2006-2013
- Brain Development — Alcohol is particularly damaging to the brain which continues to develop into the early to mid 20s. National Institute of Health, 2013
- Alcohol Dependence — Youth who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than people who begin drinking at age 21. Grant, B.F., & Dawson, 1997
- Memory Loss — Approximately 1 in 10 (11.6%) Grant County 10th graders have reported blacking out as result of their drinking or drug use. KIP Survey, 2016
- Binge Drinking — Adolescents who obtained alcohol at a party from a parent reported consuming more drinks and were twice as likely to report past 30-day alcohol use and binge drinking. Foley, 2014
When planning a celebration for a graduate, there are several things to consider to keep the youth at the party safe. First, provide non-alcoholic drinks (water, soft drinks) as an alternative to alcohol to those in attendance and be sure to place alcohol with an adult who will adequately supervise those who chose to consume. Second, instead of having the party in the evening, choose to have it at lunch-time instead. This will help minimize the alcohol that is consumed by those over the age of 21. Third, limit the guest list to only close friends and family – this will help keep the adult to youth ratio more balanced and allow for supervision. Finally, consider being intentional in hosting an alcohol-free event. Communicate this with other parents and adults who will be in attendance. If alcohol will be served, also communicate that with those parents. If parents come together during this time of year, we can prevent underage drinking.