Register Now
Member Login
Mobile Friendly

Providing Alcohol To Minors Is A Serious Offense

What’s the right thing to do? Parents of teenagers sometimes think that if they allow their kids to try alcohol at home while they are around, it will keep them safe and teach them to drink responsibly. This subject has come up in the news lately as well as locally as the family with teenage boys up the street from us has been allowing huge weekend parties when they are home to chaperone. After weeks of putting up with it, a few neighbors finally went over to complain about the late night blaring music and noise and realized these are high school kids! The explanation provided by the parent answering the door was that they’d rather have them party at home then elsewhere without supervision. They were insuring the kid’s safety by taking away car keys and expected them to spend the night.

Were these parents being insensitive, irresponsible or dangerous? While these “cool” parents might have the best intentions, they also should know that are serious health and legal implications for both the parents and kids when underage minors drink alcohol. First of all, in terms of legality, these parents asked to please be good neighbors and not call the police. They would control the noise. What they didn’t expect was that one of the unhappy neighbors in the group is in the Sheriff’s department. He explained, that it’s illegal to supply anyone under the age of 21 with alcohol and can result in jail time, fines from $500 – $1,000, court fees, missed days at work and even probation for up to a year. There whole lives could turn upside down and also asked if the parent’s of the participating teens all knew what was going on at these “sleepovers”? If anything happened to any of these kids, they could be personally sued.

Despite these facts, adults providing alcohol to a minor happens all the time. Scrolling through online news reports from the past few months, there is a couple in New Jersey who are charged with endangering the welfare of a child and 6 counts of providing alcohol to minors in the form of Fireball whiskey and vodka. In Madison County, Wisconsin, a doctor and his wife were arrested for allowing teens to drink alcohol at their home. And, in Colorado a woman was arrested after a teen was found passed out in the street in front of her house. She said that she was concerned about him but that he had already been drinking before he arrived at her home and just went and helped himself to beer out of her refrigerator. This is just a snapshot.

Often times, the parent or adult in the situation, thinks that if the kids have the opportunity to drink at home, it will take away the intrigue or desire to try it elsewhere. The truth is that studies have found that the earlier the drinking starts, the higher the risk becomes for lifelong drinking problems. It’s up to parents to set the tone that underage drinking is not okay. The more permissive about alcohol use in the home, the more that teens and young adults believe it’s fine to drink elsewhere. The stigma is taken away and in the adolescent mind, they think underage alcohol consumption isn’t a problem. The reverse psychology doesn’t generally work.

National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week Reinforces Risks of Alcohol Abuse

We talk about underage drinking all year long, but this week it comes into the spotlight during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. This is a program that was developed over 25 years ago when alcohol abuse on college campuses was identified as a primary concern across the country. In response, some Universities have added a mandatory online alcohol education class for students prior to registering for their academic schedules. In addition to this, on campus alcohol awareness activities have become more and more prevalent. Numerous studies have shown that involving students in University alcohol abuse efforts reaches more students simply because young adults tend to listen more closely to their peers. During this weeklong National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness week, over 1,000 campuses across the country will provide students with opportunities to participate in events designed by student leaders to reinforce the risks of alcohol abuse and the importance of taking responsibility to follow school policies about alcohol consumption. Students can expect to get involved in different activities each day that cover topics like the dangers of drinking and driving, alcohol and sex, drugs and alcohol, and fun classes like how to make alcohol free mocktails. Many events will also give out free t-shirts, sunglasses and things that the average college student could always use.

Why does it feel like this topic is endlessly rehashed and rehashed? The answer is because the most recent study from the CDC continues to show that even with all the open discussion, one out of every ten deaths in the U.S. is still alcohol related. According to the research, most of these deaths are a result of short term incidents like car crashes, alcohol overdoses and falls, not things like cancer or liver disease that generally take years to gestate.

College campuses have always been a hotbed for alcohol abuse. Young adults are away from home for the first time without parental supervision and they see others drinking so they partake to fit in. After a week of intense studying and test taking, alcohol related partying becomes a popular way to blow off steam to relax. However, what young people sometimes don’t realize or don’t pay attention to is that the outcome of binge drinking can be dire. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,400 college students die each year from alcohol related injuries, 500,000 are unintentionally injured and 600,000 are assaulted in some way by someone who has been drinking.

Another point that this weeklong event will highlight is that if a friend passes out after heavy drinking, the answer isn’t to leave them alone and let them sleep it off. Friends should monitor the person’s breathing habits because passing out can be life threatening. If an individual drinks enough to pass out, the amount of alcohol has caused the brain to start shutting down which further affects the nervous system and so on. In many cases students are afraid to call anyone for help because they don’t want to get themselves in trouble for underage drinking. Students across the country will be reminded of the Good Samaritan or Lifeline laws that are now in effect in many states. These laws are not meant to support underage drinking but to give amnesty to those who call 911 to save a friend’s life. Students can help save a life by paying attention and getting involved if someone else has had too much to drink.

Minor In Possession Classes for Alcohol Violations on College Campuses

Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among the under 21 crowd in the country. In fact, our teens and young adults compose about 11% of the alcohol consuming population in the U.S. And, when we send our kids away to college, what happens? Even after all the lectures and our constant watch over them during the high school years, many partake in college life by drinking with their peers. Studies from federal health official show that an astronomical 80% of college students drink alcohol. There are a host of problems with this, one of which is that even though 18 year olds are legally considered adults, the brain doesn’t fully develop until the mid-20’s. So, the part of the brain that tells us to stop our risky behavior as adults is not fully functioning and many end up doing dangerous things.

You might ask, “Why do kids drink underage, even the straight A student types?” When interviewed many say it helps them to fit in, break the ice, makes things more fun and breaks down sexual barriers. While all of this might make them feel like it’s the only option for a good time, the tragedy is that according to NCADD, approximately 600,000 college students are hurt while under the influence and 700,000 are assaulted by someone who is under the influence each year. Even worse, more than 1,800 die from drunk driving or alcohol related injuries.

The most recent studies and research continue to confirm that early use of alcohol can have serious long-term effects on decision-making skills and lead to alcoholism. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers haven’t gotten this message and I recently heard of a local party in which the parents let the kids drink beer as long as they “handed over the keys”. While this might help keep drunk drivers off the roads, it doesn’t help the kid who is at risk for becoming an alcoholic. The take home message is that it’s extremely important that parents set the tone at home by not condoning alcohol use, from early on.

College campuses across the country are doing their best to reign in the “Animal House” behavior. Here’s a list from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education of the top colleges with the most alcohol-related disciplinary action in 2012:

1. West Virginia University

2. New York University

3. Ohio State University

4. University of Wisconsin – Madison



7. Michigan State University

8. Michigan State University Law School

9. University of Colorado, Boulder

10. Colorado State University

11. University of Vermont

12. James Madison University

13. Illinois State University

14. University of Alabama

15. Fairfield University

16. Syracuse University

17. Coastal Carolina University

18. University of Oregon

19. University of Michigan Ann Arbor

20. Boston College

Although the 2014-2015 school year is still fresh, you may have a student that has already received a liquor violation on campus. Sometimes called a MIP, Minor-In-Possession or MIC, Minor In Consumption. It might be that they were totally sober but caught up in a group party that served alcohol to minors, or actually caught holding a red cup. Either way, the school will take action and your child will most likely go in front of a disciplinary board. If the police are involved, there will be a court date to go in front of a judge. It’s always a good idea to come armed to these meetings with proof of completion of an alcohol and drug awareness program or MIP Class to show good faith. This shows that the student understands what he or she did wrong and has taken steps to learn from the mistake. The final consequences will be up to the University or the law, but taking a class ahead of time can only booster your case.

Drug Education Classes For Drug Free Workplaces

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2010 6.6% of adults used illicit drugs. It’s an ongoing issue throughout the country and many companies have chosen to address it by instituting drug-free workplaces. In fact, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 establishes that any employer who receives federal grants or contracts has to be drug free or they can be at risk to lose federal funding. The idea is to prevent the problems that substance abusers bring with them into the workplace like tardiness, poor judgment skills, lower morale, sleepiness or hyperactivity, theft, 8 or more days absent each year, low productivity, workplace accidents and the increased likelihood of disdainful relationships with co-workers, bosses or employees.

Industries that generally require random drug testing include the Department of Transportation for all truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, factory workers, construction workers and nursing staff. The fact is that alcohol and drug abuse costs the economy billions of dollars each year due to increased turnover, medical costs, absenteeism and accidents. Employers both big and small are more and more establishing professional and consistent drug policies that need to be abided by for hire and continued employment with their firms. Often it’s becoming part of the interview process!

If you are working for a company that promotes a drug-free work environment, you may very well experience random drug testing. According to SAMHSA’s guidelines, the basic drug tests look for Amphetamines (meth, speed, ecstasy), THC (found in marijuana and hash), Cocaine, Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine and morphine) and Phencyclidine (PCP). Alcohol and drugs each have different periods of time that they can be detected in the system and it also depends if the testing is done through blood or urine. Some standard estimates are:

Alcohol – 1.5 hours for every 1-ounce

Amphetamines – 2 days

Benzodiazepines – (like Ativan or Xanax) 2 – 3 weeks

Cocaine – 2 -10 days

Morphine – 2 -3 days

Marijuana – 3 -4 days

Methamphetamine – 2 -3 days

Heroine – 1 – 7 days

If you are caught with a positive drug test while on the job it can result in immediate termination. Some companies however, might give you a second chance, especially if you have been a valued employee for a long period of time. In some cases, the company will ask you to take unpaid leave while you fulfill certain requirements of a rehab program or drug and alcohol education class. The company will either provide you with a specific class to take or just send you off to learn something and come back with a Certificate of Completion.

If you have been told by your employer to go take a drug education class before returning to work, it’s worth asking your HR department if the class can be completed online. Taking the program online from the convenience of home can be cost effective and allow you to get through the class in a timelier manner. For example, an 8-session drug education class in-person might meet twice a week, leaving you out of work for a month. Online classes are taken at your own convenience so the participant has the flexibility to finish the 8-session class in a week or even in one day! Learn from your mistakes and get back on track with a quality online drug and alcohol awareness class at your fingertips.

Do You Recognize Any Of These Symptoms of Alcoholism?

Do you know someone who has crossed the line from being an occasional drinker to what you would consider an alcoholic? Many of us have a friend, family member or spouse who we are worried about and feel uncomfortable around when they’ve been drinking. One drink leads to another and another, and before long, the person is incoherent, irrational, embarrassing and/or physically unsafe to be around. Maybe you’ve tried to bring it up with the person when he’s sober, but the fact is that one of the major symptoms of alcoholism is denial. The person declares that he only drinks on the weekends, at parties or while on vacation, or knows when to stop and abruptly ends the conversation. You know you are uncomfortable with the situation but don’t know enough about alcoholism to know if you should let it go or continue to push the issue.

To start, it helps to know what some of the symptoms of alcoholism are. Do you recognize any or some of these indicators?

1. Increasing irresponsibility. According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, health conditions relating to alcoholism cost the nation’s economy about 185 billion dollars each year. This is due to lost days at work, hospital related visits and the increased cost of health care due to these employees physical and emotional needs. Look for your teenager missing school because of hangover type symptoms, or the adult showing up late to important events or work and/or not showing up at all.  A parent who starts to forget to pick up his/her child on time or is spending more time in bed.

2. Turning the conversation into a joke. When you bring up the subject, the person ignores the issue or makes excuses by making fun of himself or herself or the event surrounding the behavior. They don’t give you a direct, honest answer.

3. Not following through on promises. This is across the board in every part of their life. The person says he will be somewhere but doesn’t make it, or says he will take care of something, but never gets to it. Most importantly, the person promises to not have a drink, but can’t help himself and does anyway. This generally leads to 3 or 4 until the person is definably drunk.

4. Needing a drink to relax, have a good time, or forget their problems. The person looks to alcohol to help alter a depressed, sad or frustrated mood or enhance an event to have a better time (repeatedly).

5. Hiding the alcohol. The person doesn’t want others to know he/she is drinking so they mask it in a soda can or a coffee mug and hide the bottles in a closet or pantry that would otherwise not normally have a wet bar. They don’t drink the alcohol that is available or displayed for guests so that others in the family don’t see that the levels are going down.

If any of this sounds familiar and you are ready to have a discussion about alcohol abuse with a loved one but want to gain more knowledge first, try an online alcohol and drug education class. Affordable programs are available at your fingertips to take from the privacy of your own home. You will learn all the facts to prepare you for an effective, life-changing conversation.