HOLLADAY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Alcohol and teens don’t mix. But if they do, state leaders want you to know there can be consequences. Even though teen alcohol consumption is down 40%, they want that number even lower.
“When we catch a juvenile with alcohol and they’re under the age of 18 we have to call the parents to come out to the scene and some parents are unaware, a lot of times they say, “well, I didn’t know my child was doing this,” said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce.
Utah sees a rise in underage drinking during the summer months and officials are getting the message out to parents to be more aware of their kids summer activities.
“We like to get the message out around the 4th of July and the summer months because kids are out of school during the summer they’re hanging out with their friends, parents might be working so they kinda go in to a vacation mode and that’s when they’re more likely to start drinking,” said Val Dunaway with the Department of Alcohol Beverage and Control.
That’s why four agencies that include the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, ParentsEmpowered.Org and Utah Highway Patrol are putting an effort to educate parents and teens about the dangers of alcohol consumption.
“Most of the liquor about 15% of the 50% is drunk by adults, so there is a difference in drinking pattern, but i can tell ya the way it is with the kids, it’s pretty heavy, 65%-70% drink to get drunk,” said Art Brown, Vice Chairman for ParentsEmpowered.Org.
Officials say teens have better access to alcohol when at home. And should secure alcohol containers are the house. But, it’s important for parents to talk to their kids and educate them about the dangers that go along with consuming alcohol.
Too often than not, teens don’t think about the long term effects of consuming alcohol, such as memory and learning problems and alcoholism.
Officials want teens to know that if they are caught driving they can lose their license. For adults who freely give alcohol to minors they can face a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail. UHP says supplying alcohol to minors is a Class A misdemeanor. The best preventative measure it to educate your kids.
“Continue to monitor, continue to ask what they are doing, where they’re going, who they are with, and having that open dialogue making sure they know what’s safe and what is expected of them,” added Susannah Burt with the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.