As we begin the journey around the sun for 2018, I believe it is a responsibility of all of us that are in the alcoholic beverage industry to redouble our efforts to fight the problems of underage drinking. Whether as a bartender by more carefully checking ID's or as a teacher or parent helping to educate our youth about the perils of under age drinking. If we all redouble our efforts, we can save a lot of youthful and vibrant young people's lives.
The short- and long-term consequences that arise from underage alcohol consumption are astonishing in their range and magnitude, the people around them, and society as a whole. Adolescence is a time of life characterized by robust physical health and low incidence of disease, yet overall morbidity and mortality rates increase 200 percent between middle childhood and late adolescence/early adulthood This dramatic rise is attributable in large part to the increase in risk-taking, sensation-seeking, and erratic behavior that follows the onset of puberty and which contributes to violence, unintentional injuries, risky sexual behavior, homicide, and suicide.
Alcohol frequently plays a role in these adverse outcomes and the human tragedies they produce. Among the most prominent adverse consequences of underage alcohol use are those listed below. Annually, about 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking.
The most recent data from the government-led Monitoring the Future study shows “no significant changes” in alcohol consumption among teens in 2017 compared to the previous year. The authors of the study wrote: “These are dramatic declines for such a culturally ingrained behavior and good news to many parents.”
Dr Sam Zakhari, senior vice president of science of the Distilled Spirits Council, said: “Key to further declines is educating parents and other adults about the seriousness of providing alcohol to teens.”
The Distilled Spirits Council praised the distilled spirits sector’s role in combating underage drinking through programs such as the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and support for the Federal Trade Commission’s We Don’t Serve Teens initiative.