Alcohol is the most heavily abused substance by youth according to the US Surgeon general. We provide ADETS (Alcohol and Drug Education Training School) classes in the Charlotte and Concord area. As ADETS instructors, our main role is to provide education and give our clients a real support system to help them learn better behaviors and be more responsible when it comes to drinking and driving. During these classes, we get to know more about the participants’ lifestyles and behaviors.
Through our work with people who have been convicted of DWI, we realize that many of them have been drinking since their teenage years. These conversations have also revealed that when someone is introduced to alcohol at such an early age, it becomes a part of their lifestyle. As a North Carolina DWI agency, we see first hand the effect that alcohol abuse can have on adults who start drinking at an early age.
The Problem With Underage Drinking
Underage drinking is a problem in and of itself. The legal drinking age in the US is 21, however, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety reports that 1 out of 4 of North Carolina high school students had their first drink before the age of 13, and 1 out of 3 of middle schoolers had their first drink before age 11.
The organization also provided this alarming statistic:
Alcohol kills 6.5 times more young people under the age of 21 than all other illicit drugs combined, costing NC tax payers $1.1 Billion per year.
Research by the American Medical Association Alcohol shows the effect that alcohol has on youth behavior, indicating that alcohol may cause permanent damage to the memory and learning center inside the brain as well as decision-making and reasoning areas. This means that when children drink, they lack the mental capacity to make the right decisions and their judgment is impaired, which is why they should not be allowed to drive or operate equipment.
Underage Drinking & Driving Laws
North Carolina’s Zero Tolerance Law makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink and drive. Zero Tolerance means no alcohol or drugs can be present in your system while you are driving.
- Drivers under age 21 who have any detectable alcohol concentration immediately lose their driver license for 30 days, on the spot.
- Refusal to submit to a chemical analysis will result in an automatic one-year driver license revocation.
- Underage drinkers can have their drivers license revoked for a full year if convicted of driving while impaired.
- Anyone under the age of 21 can also have their drivers license revoked for one year if they are convicted of purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol.
- It is illegal for adults to sell to or purchase alcohol for anyone under the age of 21.
Teenagers who drink and drive become adults who do the same. Education and real conversations with our youth are the keys to the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. Please don’t let teens drive under the influence.
Are you a parent who wants to talk to your children about alcohol? Visit the Ask Listen and Learn Website for helpful information and resources: http://www.asklistenlearn.com/pages/parents_teachers