As an Edinboro DUI attorney, I see the devastating impact that underage drinking can have on the lives of young people and their families. The holidays are especially a difficult time for many young people who do not understand the dangers associated with underage drinking. As parents, we can take steps to prevent underage drinking during the holidays.
How Prevalent Is Underage Drinking During the Holidays?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 11,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years will consume alcohol for the first time on an average December day. Approximately 400 young people under the age of 21 years die each month from alcohol-related causes. Therefore, it is crucial that adults learn the signs and symptoms of underage drinking in order to spot a problem before it becomes life-threatening.
Commons signs of underage drinking per SAMHSA include:
- Behavior Changes – Rebellion, switching friends; reluctance telling parents about new friends; problems in school with attendance, grades, or discipline; a sloppy appearance; and, lack of involvement in former interests.
- Emotional Changes – Having a “nothing matters” attitude, defensive, mood changes, and irritability.
- Mental Changes – Memory lapses and poor judgment.
- Physical Changes – Lack of coordination, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and low energy.
The above signs could indicate something else; however, you should also be concerned about underage drinking if you see your child exhibit these symptoms. For information about what you should do if you suspect underage drinking, you can talk to your child’s physician or guidance counselor. You can find more information about what you should do on SAMHSA’s website.
Setting a Good Example During the Holidays
One way that you can prevent underage drinking during the holidays is to set a good example for your child. Never allow your child to “try” alcoholic beverages. Explain that alcohol is an adult beverage that should only be consumed by adults. Do not over-indulge in alcoholic beverages during the holidays. Your children are watching you, and they learn from your behavior.
Talk to your child often about the dangers of underage drinking, including the criminal and health risks for underage drinking. Also, discuss peer pressure and how your child should handle peer pressure if his or her friends try to get him or her to drink alcohol.
Can I Be Criminal Liable for Underage Drinking
It is a crime to sell alcohol to a minor. It is also a crime to buy or provide alcohol to a minor in the state Pennsylvania, even if the minor is your child. You can be held criminally liable if you are charged and found guilty of supplying alcohol to a minor. Furthermore, if your child drinks and drives, you could be held liable for any damages resulting from a drunk driving accident caused by your child.
If you have questions about underage drinking laws in Pennsylvania, contact our Edinboro DUI attorney. You can contact The Travis Law Firm by calling (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free consultation with an Edinboro DUI attorney. Do not take an underage drinking charge lightly. The penalties for underage drinking in Pennsylvania are severe. Get advice for you and your child from an experienced Edinboro DUI attorney as soon as possible.