Study: Kids Receiving Alcohol from Parents and Other Adults

The results of a nationwide survey looking at the social context of underage alcohol use, performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, were released today.  This National Survey on Drug Use and Health looked at many aspects of alcohol use and drinking behaviors amongst 12-20 year olds, and the major finding capturing the headlines is that underage drinkers are obtaining alcohol from adults, including parents and guardians.  Blaming parents and adult family members for underage alcohol use and labeling them as “enablers” may be a hasty conclusion, however.  The study indicates that 40% of underage drinkers obtained alcohol from an adult (someone over 21) for free in the past month.  However, one in four youths received alcohol from an unknown adult, and only one in twelve youths received alcohol from a parent or guardian. 


More importantly, the study does not clearly specify how parents are giving their kids alcohol.  A glass of wine at a family dinner might be statistically the same as a mother buying a keg for a son’s graduation party; however, the implications of these actions are much different.  Conclusions from the study stress that parents should be involved by providing proper guidance and ensuring their kids’ safety by preventing them from the dangerous act of drinking.  Is it possible, however, that allowing a son or daughter a glass of wine with dinner helps teach responsible drinking, and thus can be considered parental guidance?  A recent Time Magazine article discussed in a June 20th post does an excellent job debating this issue.

In general, we are having a hard time seeing how the results of this study support a legal age 21.  Kids are finding alcohol and drinking underage, and one in five underage drinkers have binged at least once in the last month.  Moreover, this drinking is happening in private, unsupervised locations, and over half of underage drinkers have drank in someone else’s room or house during the past month.  If you ask us, that is more scary than the fact that some youths are sharing a beer with mom and dad. 

We encourage you to visit this ABC article for more information, links, and comments.

One Response to “Study: Kids Receiving Alcohol from Parents and Other Adults”

  1. Sheila Joyce Gibbs Says:

    Just came upon your article, and would like very much, to share my true story, of how my late husband and I basically, allowed Alcohol to destroy our health completely.
    Please let me know if possible.
    Many thanks.

    ph. no. 250-995-1643