Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

Underage drinking - the time to act is now

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2016

By Kelly Sickafoose

There is no single group of people more affected by alcohol and drugs than our youth, yet the consequences affect us all. Underage alcohol consumption is strongly linked with: death from alcohol poisoning, unintentional injuries, suicide and violence including fighting and sexual assault, changes in brain development, school performance problems and other risky behaviors such as smoking and abuse of other drugs.

Why? Because when minors drink, they drink to get drunk. Our time to act is before problems occur, and the time is now. Startling statistics: More than 90% of the alcohol consumed by those under the age of 21 is consumed by binge drinkers (defined as five or more drinks per occasion for boys, four or more drinks per occasion for girls). Youth who start drinking before the age of 15 are six times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence later in life than those who begin drinking at or after 21 years of age.

Indiana Lifeline Law

The Indiana Lifeline Law was designed to protect minors when alcohol consumption endangers a friend. Under the law, immunity from certain charges, including public intoxication and minor consumption, is granted to a minor who: calls 911 when a friend has ingested a dangerous quantity of alcohol, stays with the friend until law enforcement and EMS arrive and cooperates with law enforcement. The Lifeline Law does not condone underage drinking; the inebriated teen can be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The focus is on saving lives.

Encourage your teens to avoid situations involving alcohol. Talk to them about the risks of underage drinking, the potential (deadly) consequences of drinking, and the importance of making good decisions. For more information, please like us on Facebook: Local Anti-Drug Coalition Efforts – LACE.