83% of Maine parents don’t believe their teen is drinking. But…
In a recent statewide survey of Maine students grades 8 through 12:
- 65% reported that they have tried alcohol,
- 38% reported that they drank alcohol within the last month,
- 20% reported binge drinking within the last two weeks.
Parents Play a Role in Preventing Underage Drinking
Your kids look up to you. They learn how to act and behave from the way you act and behave. Whether you know it or not, the messages you send about alcohol will affect the way your kids think about underage and high risk drinking.
- Do you ask your kids to grab you a drink from the refrigerator?
- Do you reminisce fondly about your past experiences with alcohol or drugs in front of your kids?
- Do you wear t-shirts, baseball caps, etc. that advertise or promote drinking and/or specific brands of alcohol?
- Do you consider drinking to be a rite of passage for teenagers that can't be avoided?
Take this quick quiz to find out if you are you sending mixed messages about alcohol to your kids.
What Can I Do to Prevent Underage Drinking?
- Limit your teen’s access to alcohol.
If you have alcohol in your home, keep track of it. Know where it is and how much you have, and keep it where it is not accessible, such as in a locked cabinet.
- Set clear rules and expectations, and enforce them.
Maine youth are significantly less likely to drink alcohol when they believe they’ll be caught by police. They’re even less likely to drink alcohol when they believe their parents think it would be wrong for them to do so and that they’d be punished if caught.
- Share regular meals with your teen. Research shows that youth who eat regular meals with their family are less likely to use drugs, smoke or engage in other risky behaviors.
- Report Parties to local Law Enforcement. If you know about a party that is going to take place or did take place, call your local police department to report it! For a list of law enforcement agencies in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties, click here.
- More Tips
Legal Issues for Adults
Hosting or Furnishing: Parents and adults who allow minors to consume alcohol on their property or provide alcohol to minors can be charged with fines ranging from $500-$2000 and/or jail time. If an injury or death occurs, the person can be charged with a felony.
Taking away the keys is not enough! The majority of alcohol related injuries or deaths result from other accidents, such as accidental falls or drowning, homicides, suicides, and alcohol poisoning.
Legal Issues for Youth
Illegal Possession: It is illegal for any person under the age of 21 to possess or consume alcohol. Fines for illegal possession, including possession by consumption can range from $200-$600.
Illegal Transportation of Liquor: No person under the age of 21 shall transport alcoholic beverages in a motor vehicle. Penalties for illegal transportation include license suspension and fines up to $500.
The Teen OUI Law: Youth under 21 who operate vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their blood will have their license suspended for one year. If they have a passenger under 21, an additional 180-day suspension will be imposed. Refusal to be tested will result in suspension of their operator's license for at least 18 months.
Table Talks- Parents Connecting for Alcohol Free Youth
Are you interested in starting a dialogue about underage drinking in your community? If so, Table Talks would be an excellent start.
Table Talks are small group discussions held in a parent's home or in another community space. They provide an informal setting for parents to talk with each other about underage drinking and how to prevent it. Each Table Talk is meant to be friendly and relaxed, and is led by a trained facilitator.
Information and Resources: