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Underage drinking: laws and prevention

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The minimum age to purchase alcohol was first established because authorities wanted to limit access among teenagers.

Regardless of this, underage drinking is still a problem in the United States. Alcohol is the number one drug teenagers use on a regular basis. As a result, there are many adolescents who are putting their lives and health at risk. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, underage drinkers consume nearly 3.6 billion drinks a year, which adds up to 10 million every day. The price tag of underage drinking adds up to more than $58 billion per year.

The legal drinking age has been 21 for a long period of time now. Since July 1988, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have had laws that require individual to be at least 21 years or older if they plan on buying alcohol. Zero tolerance is effective and certain studies indicate that minimum drinking age requirement reduces crashes among drivers who are younger than 21. All states currently have zero-tolerance laws as well as laws that make it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink and drive.
School prevention programs used to be informational, but they often used certain scare tactics to keep kids from drinking.

These programs were not that effective, however, and there are programs out there today which address the pressure to fit in that is often involved with drinking. We need to teach adolescents how to avoid these kinds of peer-pressure situations rather than scare them. These programs also offer resources for teachers and mentors so that they can positively influence kids on the effect of alcohol.

Parents also have the ability to influence their children regarding alcohol by setting rules against drinking and consistently enforcing those rules. As a parent you want to help prevent you child from drinking, you don’t want to provider them with alcohol. Young people who begin drinking at a young age are more likely to become dependent on alcohol as they get older. Educate your children on the affects of alcohol and the responsibilities of drinking.

Alcohol is readily available and highly advertised. It is everywhere, so much so that many people believe that it is just a normal part of growing up. The fact is that underage drinking is dangerous and causes a multitude of consequence including alcohol-involved motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides, fights and other such incidents. Alcohol can also be damaging to your health as it increases the risk of transmitted sexual diseases. People are more sexually driven when under the influence of alcohol, which opens the door for physical or sexual assaults.

Underage drinking is still a big problem in this country and results in serious health and safety consequences. And despite the many prevention programs available and zero-tolerance laws in every state, the rate of underage drinking continues to rise. Know the law. If you are under the age of 21, you are not able to purchase or be in possession of alcohol.

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