Last Updated on May 7, 2019 by Morris Green
Underage Drinking Cost The Citizens of North Carolina $1.5 Billion In 2010
Since the numbers for 2011-2012 have not yet been reported, we can only hope costs are getting lower. In our effort to spread the word about this growing problem and in conjunction with the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration’s Drive Sober Campaign, the focus of this week’s post is to provide helpful information on ways we can help prevent underage drinking and underage DWI incidences.
Understanding The Problem
Underage drinking is a risk that attracts many developing adolescents and teens. Many want to try alcohol, but often do not fully recognize its effects on their health and behavior. Peer pressure is the number 1 reason kids try alcohol before they are of age. Other teenagers get alcohol from an adult, parent or relative, either without their knowledge, or with their full knowledge as some adults think it is okay for teenagers to drink.
What Is The Legal Drinking Age In North Carolina?
It is illegal in this country for anyone under the age of 21 to drink alcohol, yet teenagers consume 9.7% of all alcohol sold in North Carolina, according to the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center.
How Are Teens Getting Alcohol If They Are Not Old Enough?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Services Health Administration reports that although it is illegal to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 21, among underage drinkers (ages 12-20), 30.8% paid for the alcohol the last time they drank – including 8.3% who purchased the alcohol themselves and 22.3% who gave money to someone else to purchase it. Among those who did not pay for the alcohol they drank, 37.4% got it from an unrelated person of legal drinking age; 21.1% received it from a parent, guardian, or other adult family member.
What Are The Consequences of Underage Drinking?
Alcohol is the most abused drug among teenagers. This is the real heart of the matter. Not only do teenagers who drink harm themselves, but they also harm others, especially when they get behind the wheel. Here are some alarming facts from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety:
- Alcohol kills 6.5 times more young people under the age of 21 than all other illicit drugs combined.
- Youth deaths related to alcohol include deaths from motor vehicle crashes, homicides, alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, drowning and suicides.
- One out of 10 alcohol-related fatal wrecks involve underage drivers.
- 95% of all violent crimes committed on college campuses are alcohol related.
- Young people consume more than 90 percent of their alcohol by binge drinking, which means they consume at least 5 drinks on the same occasion.
- Children who start drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and dependence at some point in their lives.
- Alcohol alters brain development, affecting both brain structure and function, which is what leads to alcohol dependence.
Being A Part Of The Solution
Now that you are aware of the problem and consequences associate with underage drinking, we hope you will become a part of the solution. Protecting our youth from the dangers of drinking has to be a community effort.
How Can I Help?
North Carolina has several organizations with initiatives established to prevent underage drinking in our state. There are also national initiatives such as the Safe and Sober Prom and the Too Smart to Start programs. Consider giving of your time and money to support organizations that are trying to protect our children from the threat of alcoholism. To name a few, here are organizations that are making a difference: