For a Safe Holiday Season Remember to Say We Don't Serve Teens
"We Don't Serve Teens," the national campaign to reduce underage drinking developed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is reminding parents and other concerned adults that underage alcohol use creates negative health, social, and economic consequences for adolescents, their families, and their communities.
In 2008, almost 40,000 people between the ages of 15 and 20 were hospitalized with alcohol problems. One quarter of them also had been assaulted, or injured in a traffic accident or fight. The average length of stay was 5 days, at a cost of over $19,000 per stay.
Preventing underage alcohol use is a year-round priority – and it warrants special attention during the holiday season, when increased free time and celebrations increase the risk of teen drinking.
"What many do not realize is that most teens who drink get the alcohol from older friends and family, or by taking it from a home without permission," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "So, reducing easy teen access to alcohol from social sources is critical."
The DontServeTeens.gov website has been updated in time for the holiday season. It provides information in English and Spanish on the rates and risks of teen drinking, what to say to friends and neighbors about serving alcohol to teens, links to state laws, and tips on enlisting the support of organizations, the media, and others to fight underage alcohol use.