Underage Drinking

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WHAT IS UNDERAGE DRINKING?

Underage drinking is the consumption of alcohol before the age of 21. Doing so puts the brain and body at risk for potential developmental and functional abnormalities.

Alcohol is a factor in the three leading causes of death for 15-24 year olds.

CONSEQUENCES OF UNDERAGE DRINKING

  • Underage drinking is illegal. The legal age to consume and purchase alcohol in Hawaii is 21.
  • The younger an adolescent starts drinking, the more likely s/he will develop alcohol addiction later in life.
  • The adolescent brain and liver are not fully developed until the age of 25. Alcohol can damage the brains ability to retain information and make wise decisions.

LEGAL PENALTIES

1.       Social Host Law: it is illegal for an adult to provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 and/or knowingly permit a minor to possess alcohol on their property.

2.       Use & Lose Law: if anyone under the age of 21 is caught drinking, holding or buying alcohol they will lose their driver’s license.

3.       Zero Tolerance Law: if anyone under the age of 21 is caught with any percentage of alcohol in their system will lose their driver’s license/privilege to drive.

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  • UNDERAGE DRINKING IN HAWAII

  • In 2013, 17.5% of Hawaii high school students drank alcohol before age 13.
  • 41.4% of Hawaii high school students usually obtained alcohol they drank by someone giving it to them (peer pressure or given by adult)
  • 24% of Hawaii high school students drank alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse (risky behavior)

HEALTH RISKS

  • Impacts ability to perform well at school, sports, work and other academic activities
  • Liver disease
  • Cancers
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Malnourishment
  • Promotes risky behavior
  • Driving under the influence
  • Unprotected sex
  • Physical altercations/fights
  • Experimenting with other drugs
  • Jail time or hefty fine

Sources:  Center For Substance Abuse Prevention Tips For Teens on Alcohol; The 2003 Hawaii Student Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use Study; Hawaii State Legislature Website, and Be Aware of Zero Tolerance.