Talking to Teens and Young Adults About Drinking
February 4, 2019
Underage drinking is an important topic – especially since millions of young adults (18 to 22-years-old) are unaware that alcohol consumption and drinking in excess can result in fatal consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that alcohol is a factor in more than 4,300 deaths of people under the age of 21 every year – but alcohol-related injuries and deaths can be prevented by increasing awareness efforts and opening communication lines.
The Dangers of Drinking
Excessive and dangerous drinking habits can result in both short and long-term health effects. According to the CDC, some of the serious consequences that accompany unhealthy drinking habits include:
- Alcoholism, or becoming dependent on alcohol;
- Heart disease, high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, and digestive problems;
- Social problems, such as decreased motivation and loss of productivity, unemployment, and family issues, and:
- Mental health problems, including anxiety and depression
Young People and Alcohol
In 2017, the CDC conducted a risk survey on high school aged individuals. 30% reported drinking “some” amount of alcohol in the last 30 days; 14% said they binge drank. Binge drinking is defined as drinking an excessive amount of alcohol within a short period of time. The NIAAA categorizes binge drinking as a pattern of behavior that makes a person’s blood alcohol level (BAC) hit .08 or above (in many states across the country, .08 is the legal drinking limit).
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 1,150 individuals under 21-years-old die in alcohol-related traffic incidents annually. In addition, nearly 200,000 teens and young adults under the age of 21 seek emergency medical treatment every year for alcohol use. In far too many cases, a young person dies because he or she obtained alcohol at a party, liquor store, or establishment that should never have served the individual – and that also broke the law in doing so.
Underage Drinking and Liability
Because drinking can be highly hazardous, it is illegal to supply alcohol to minors and people under 21-years-old. In some situations – such as a house party – a parent or homeowner may be held legally responsible for underage drinking, especially if someone is hurt or gets into an accident. This same rule applies for college students and all others who are under 21-years-old and are illegally served alcohol at a bar, restaurant, or even a fraternity house. Because the law assumes that people under 21 are not allowed to drink, the responsibility for underage drinking – and the damages that occur – may rest with another party or parties.
Questions of liability also arise when underage drinkers cause property damage as a result of their drinking. In these cases, similar to when a young person is seriously injured after being illegally served alcohol, it may be best to talk to a lawyer. In these situations, a lawyer can determine which party (ies) is responsible for damages, and may also recommend filing a legal claim in order to reach a settlement or verdict that will aid in covering the injured party’s medical, emotional, and/or physical losses.
Talking to Young People About Drinking
Communication is key – and for parents and caregivers, there is an array of data and helpful resources out there. According to the NIAAA, alcohol is the most common drug of choice among young people – and that includes all illicit drugs as well as tobacco. Talking to your teen or young adult about the dangers of alcohol use is an effective way to combat the dangers. If you want to read more on talking about underage drinking, please visit the NIAAA’s resource sheet here: https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/MakeADiff_HTML/makediff.htm.
If you have any questions about an injury or accident that occurred as a result of underage drinking, please contact a representative at our firm who may be able to help.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Representing Injured Individuals Since 1947
If you have questions about being injured, please contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.