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Underage Drinking Facts

  • 29% of parents and teens know of parents who host teen alcohol parties. (Source: Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking Evaluation Report, January 2007)
  • 25% of teens attended a party where alcohol was served to underage youth in the past two months, while parents thought the number was closer to 15%. (Source: Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking Evaluation Report, January 2007)
  • Every day, 5,400 young people under 16 have their first drink of alcohol. (Source: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth with calculations from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
  • Studies reveal that alcohol consumption by adolescents results in brain damage-possibly permanent-and impairs intellectual development. (Source: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (Volume 24, Number 2 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, February 2000)
  • Children who are drinking alcohol by 7th grade are more likely to report academic problems, substance abuse, and delinquent behavior in both middle and high school. By young adulthood, early alcohol use was associated with employment problems. (Source: Ellickson P., Tucker J., and Klein, D. Ten-year prospective study of public health problems associated with early drinking. Pediatrics 111 (5): 949-955, 2003)

Parent Tips

  • You cannot give alcohol to your teen’s friend under the age of 21 under any circumstance, even in your own home.
  • Let your neighbors know in advance there will be a party and that you will be there to supervise.
  • Secure all alcohol, firearms and other hazardous items
  • Get to know your children’s friends and their parents.
  • Ask other parents about their policy on alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use.
  • Encourage alcohol-free and drug-free parties and activities for underage youth.
  • Make sure alcohol is not brought into your home or property by your teen’s friends.
  • Create alcohol-free opportunities and activities at your home so teens will feel welcome.
  • Limit party access to a specified area of the home and let teens know that once they leave they cannot come back.
  • Have plenty of food and sodas and don’t be afraid to make regular visits to party areas.
  • Check backpacks and jackets of attendees. Put all belongings in one area that is supervised by an adult and is only accessible when the guests arrive and leave.

Party hosting suggestions

  • Refuse to supply alcohol to anyone under 21.
  • Be at home when your teen has a party.
  • Make sure alcohol is not brought into your home or property by your teen’s friends.
  • Talk to other parents about not providing alcohol at events your child will be attending.
  • Create alcohol-free opportunities and activities in your home so teens feel welcome.
  • Report underage drinking to local law enforcement

If Your Teen is Attending a Party

  • Call the parent host to verify the occasion and location of the party, and ensure that there will be adequate adult supervision and no alcohol.
  • Know how your child is getting to and from the party. Remind your child to never ride with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs.
  • Remind your teen that you will pick them up- “No questions asked,” if they find themselves in an uncomfortable situation; no matter how late or how far away

As a Parent, You Should Know

  • You cannot knowingly allow a person under 21, other than your own child, to possess or consume an alcoholic beverage on your property. You can be fined $2,500 per child for this criminal offense.
  • If a minor drives after consuming alcohol on your property and is involved in a crash, you may be held responsible.
  • You may be held civilly liable if sued by another parent as a result of injuries, alcohol poisoning, or sexual assault. And you may be held responsible even if you weren’t home, or didn’t know about the party!
  • You can be fined $2,500 for furnishing alcohol to or obtaining alcohol for anyone under the age of 21. These violations are criminal offenses.
  • It is illegal to host or allow underage drinking parties in your home, or to provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
  • It is unhealthy and unacceptable for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol.
  • It is unsafe, illegal and can be deadly for teens to drink and drive.
  • Parents can be prosecuted under the law. Everything associated with the violation, such as personal property, can be confiscated.
  • Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Underage Drinking

Helpful Resources

The links to the websites listed above are provided for additional information purposes and are neither endorsed nor approved by Frostburg State University.