Underage drinking is nothing new, but it is still dangerous and illegal. According to iiaaonline.org, underage drinking cost the citizens of Texas $5.2 billion in 2005. The costs include medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering. The costs in lost lives are priceless.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (formerly known as Students Against Driving Drunk), reports that 75% of students have consumed alcohol by the end of high school. About 40% of students have consumed alcohol by the 8th grade. Though the rate of alcohol use among young people under age 21 has declined in the last 7 years, it is still costing many young people their lives.
The Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) has provided a hotline number since 1999, for people to report underage drinking. The number is 1-888-843-8222.
A minor caught drinking in Texas faces a Class C Misdemeanor charge with a fine of up to $500, community service, an alcohol awareness class and the loss of or denial of driver’s license.
Per the TABC, adults and minors who provide alcohol to minors face serious penalties. “The punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for up to a year, or both. Additionally, the violator will have his or her drivers license automatically suspended for 180 days upon conviction.”
A sale to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, up to a year in jail, or both. Anyone 21 or over who knowingly provides alcohol to a minor can be held liable for damages caused by the minors’ intoxication.
Underage drinking is no joke, people are dying, our kids are dying. Talk to your kids about the dangers of alcohol and be willing to answer their questions without judgment. Many parents are in denial that their children are already drinking alcohol, but that denial could cost your child his life. Don’t underestimate the power of peer pressure, or the power of a parent, aunt, uncle or friend who cares enough to speak out against underage drinking. Turning a blind eye or making excuses for your child to drink (such as letting them drink at your home so they won’t drink somewhere else) is enabling them, not helping them. Every state in America has laws against underage drinking and those who provide alcohol to minors. Don’t break the law or help a child break the law.