Some parents believe that, to ensure their teens’ safety, they should allow their children to drink at home with parental supervision so that they won’t try to do it in a dangerous environment. Maryland recently enacted a law that will now fines such parents $1,000-$2,500. This applies to any adult over the age of 21 that is caught providing an underage drinker with alcohol. A repeat offense increases the fine to $5,000.
Kurt Gregory Erickson, president of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program explains that the law is “needed because Maryland has made very little progress in terms of curbing underage drinking,”
It seems though, that underage drinking is a national problem. A Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth study found a steady trend of high drinking rates for US 9th through 12th graders from 1993 -2004. Furthermore, A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study found that “In 2002 to 2006, more than one in four persons aged 12 to 20 (28.6 percent) had consumed alcohol in the past month, corresponding to an estimated 10.8 million underage current alcohol users. Within this age group, 7.2 million (19.2 percent) engaged in binge alcohol use, and 2.3 million (6.2 percent) were heavy drinkers.”
Recently, a 19-year old Virginia man was found dead from alcohol poisoning and there are numerous cases of this happening every year, especially at college campuses. Collegedrinkingprevention.gov states that 1,700 college students die each year from alcohol related incidents. In 2002 a University of Maryland student died of alcohol poisoning during a hazing at his fraternity.
There are many theories as to how to minimize underage drinking. A number of college and university presidents are favoring the idea of lowering the age limit of drinking below 21. Whereas, California has enacted a law that allows for parents who knowingly host an underage drinking party to be fined $1000 and Long Beach N.Y. has illegalized adults giving under-aged people alcohol all together, the fines start at $250 and 15 days in jail.
No matter the parenting style, it’s important for you and your child to have the appropriate knowledge about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking. The following links may give parents some ideas as how to deal with taking the correct measures in protecting their children from underage drinking:
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