Monday, August 11, 2008

Source of alcohol for many youth? Adults.

New national research shows that adults are contributing to the problem of underage drinking—by supplying alcohol to youth. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 40 percent of underage drinkers receive free alcohol from adults over 21. They also note that one in 16 underage drinkers (650,000 youth) was given alcoholic beverages by their parents in the past month. Check out the research summary, and link to the full report, here:

These statistics are highly relevant to our local communities. We know, for example, that 52% of 6th-12th graders in Cumberland County think that alcohol is easy to access. We also know that youth who think it is easy to get alcohol are four times more likely to drink than youth who think it is hard to get (2006 MYDAUS).

It is important for adults to understand that furnishing alcohol to minors who are not their own children not only hinders substance abuse prevention efforts, but is against the law. Under the State of Maine, Title 28-A, Section 2081, the court may impose fines up to $2,000 and jail time up to 1 year to anyone who furnishes, gives, sells or delivers liquor to a minor. Similar penalties apply to anyone who furnishes a place for minors to consume alcohol (Title 28-A, Section 2081).

There are many things you can do as a parent to ensure your children and their friends do not have access to alcohol:

· Refuse to supply alcohol to anyone under 21.
· Be at home when your teen has a party.
· Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at events your child will be attending.
· Report underage drinking to your local law enforcement.

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