June 13, 2008
Jefferson City, Mo. - As summer begins, teens have more free time on their hands, and Attorney General Jay Nixon is reminding parents and other adults of the dangers of providing alcohol to underage drinkers. As part of the "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign, Nixon has joined forces with the Federal Trade Commission and other national groups in an effort to reduce teen drinking. The message of the campaign is that providing underage drinkers with alcohol is unsafe, illegal and irresponsible.
Statistics show that such awareness campaigns have paid off in reducing underage drinking. Nixon says national surveys indicate that teens are drinking less and consider alcohol more and more difficult to obtain. Still, research also shows that most teens who drink get alcohol from social sources like friends and family.
"Studies conclusively tell us that kids who illegally drink alcohol obtain it from individuals they know," said Nixon. "We also know that parents, according to kids, have more influence than anyone on their kids' decision to drink or not."
People who provide alcohol to teens not only undermine the efforts of parents to protect their kids, they also break the law. The legal drinking age in the United States is 21. Studies show that adults strongly support this law - a recent national survey showed that most parents said the drinking age should remain 21 or be raised. But parents need help to make sure their teens don't have access to alcohol.
Nixon said, according to research, the age when drinking starts affects future drinking problems. For each year that the start of drinking is delayed, the risk of later alcohol dependence is reduced by 14 percent.
For more information on stopping teens' easy access to alcohol, practical tips on talking to kids about alcohol and advertising, and what to say to friends and neighbors about serving alcohol to teens, visit www.DontServeTeens.gov, which is maintained by the FTC.