Underage Drinking Aided by Adults: Time to Change the Culture

Join Together published the following on their website, and it’s an issue Oregon Partnership is trying to emphasize in the public arena.   Parents need to be aware that enabling their kids to drink is dangerous, unhealthy, and against the law.
Adults over the age of 21, including a substantial number of parents and guardians, are contributing to the underage drinking phenomenon by supplying free alcohol to young people, a nationwide report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)  has found.

The report, Underage Alcohol Use: Findings from the 2002-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, states that more than 40 percent of youths ages 12 to 20 who used alcohol in the past 30 days reported receiving free alcohol from an adult. One in 16 underage drinkers, or an estimated 650,000 youths, had received alcohol from a parent or guardian in the past month.

“This report provides unprecedented insight into the social context of this public health problem and shows that it cuts across many different parts of our community,” said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. “Its findings strongly indicate that parents and other adults can play an important role in helping influence — for better or for worse — young people’s behavior with regard to underage drinking.”

The report also states that binge drinking rates are significantly higher for young people living with a parent who engaged in past-year binge drinking. A total of 30.3 percent of underage drinkers reported that they were in their own home when they had their last drink, while 53.4 percent were at someone else’s home and comparatively few were at a restaurant, bar or club.

SAMHSA, the Office of the Surgeon General and the Ad Council will use the findings of this latest report to inform their joint Underage Drinking Prevention outreach campaign, an effort to encourage parents to address the topic of underage drinking’s dangers early and often with their children.

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