A Coalition Connecting our Community for Youth.

Community for youth.

Alcohol Prevention


Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are 4 times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21. Every day, on average 11,318 American youth (12 to 21) try alcohol for the first time. Alcohol is the leading cause of death among youth, particularly teenagers. Teens most commonly get alcohol from their home, a friends home, and older sibling or an older friend. These are just a couple of the millions of statistics a person can find on the damage alcohol does to the lives of young people. This is why we are attempting to combat the availability of alcohol to youth head on. Someone over 21 has to be supplying the youth with alcohol and we want to inform everyone of how much damage they are doing in the lives of these youth. We invite all of you to look at the information on alcohol and young people for yourself (see link below) and decide which of your friends, siblings, cousins etc... you would like to put at risk? DON'T BE A PARTY TO TEENAGE DRINKING, DO NOT PROVIDE ALCOHOL TO MINORS!


All members of a community are responsible to reduce underage drinking.
It is our firm belief that if we as a community address underage drinking we can further reduce other drug use.  We believe teens start with a drug that is easily accessible, like alcohol.
It is time to make a stand against underage drinking!  We need to model positive responsible behavior regarding drinking, set firm boundaries with youth concerning underage drinking and report all parties and adult providers to the police. 

Some staggering statistics include:

  • The average age at which young people take their 1st drink is 13 years old.
  • Of those people who begin to drink before the age of 14, 47% become dependent at some point, compared with 9% of those who begin drinking at age 21 or older.
  • This is not a problem for other states, communities or families, Idaho and Bonneville County are not immune from the consequences of underage drinking.
  • 15% of all alcohol sold in Idaho youth are consuming.
  • 28% of youth in grades 7th-12th in Bonneville County report riding once or more in the last 12 months with a driver who had been drinking.  




Underage Drinking – What Can Be Done?

Everyone CAN...

  • Report illegal commercial alcohol sales

  • Report underage drinking parties, in advance

  • Refuse to supply alcohol to underage youth in your home or on your property

  • Store alcohol (under lock and key) or some place out of reach of youth

  • Schedule a speaker for your local group

  • Support local law enforcement efforts

Parents CAN...

  • Know your child's friends’ parents and set up a "parents network" 

  • Talk with other parents/adults to make sure that alcohol is not available at the events youth will attend

  • Talk and listen to your children

  • Provide a consistent family policy re: no teen drinking and set consequences you will carry out

  • Check your children's ID’s, make sure they don't have fake ID's

  • Set a good example for responsible adult alcohol use, if you choose to drink

Merchants CAN...

  • Hire, train and supervise responsible staff to keep business in compliance with alcohol sales laws

  • Attend training for licensees; learn business best practices for responsible alcohol sales & service

  • Develop comprehensive written policies and use comprehensive and effective employee training programs

  • Use tools for verifying customers age; age calendars, ID sign age, etc.

  • Supervise and monitor employee compliance with company policies and state and local laws

Law Enforcement CAN...

  • Conduct  compliance checks in each licensed alcohol establishment.

  • Conduct regular walk-through of licensed establishments

  • Develop a system to monitor alcohol-related problems associated with community events and specific establishments

  • Conduct party dispersal operations as a means to control underage drinking parties, citing adult providers in addition to youth in possession of alcohol

  • Consistently enforce laws against adult providers and social hosts

  • Ask underage youth who are caught drinking to disclose the source of their alcohol

Government CAN...

  • Develop laws, ordinances, policies, etc. to address commercial availability, social/public availability, and youth possession

  • Use licensing and regulatory "best practices" to control alcohol landscape and protect public health and safety

  • Use land use planning to control retail outlet density

  • Assess existing laws and regulations to identify and close gaps and loopholes

  • Identify strengths upon which effective enforcement strategies can be built

  • Motivate enforcement and regulatory agencies to strengthen enforcement of exiting laws and regulations

Youth CAN...

  • Help everyone focus on the positive - not all teens drink

  • Be an advocate for community change; challenge adult assumptions.

  • Ask to see school's written policy, read it, talk about it with others, suggest improvements

  • Partner with law enforcement in compliance check operations

  • Partner with peers and adults to create alcohol-free events

  • Partner with media; write series of articles on alcohol issues/topics that affect youth

Media CAN...

  • Use unique position to advance social and public policy goals to reduce underage drinking

  • Become informed about the issues, solutions and "best practices"

  • Cover stories about what is being done to prevent problems; not just report consequences of underage drinking incidences

  • Develop PSA's on dangers of underage drinking to offset one-sided advertising messages that glamorize drinking 

  • Limit alcohol ad product placements to TV, radio and magazines with majority adult only audiences

  • Be an advocate for community change; challenge community assumptions

Faith Community CAN...

  • Provide safe and positive youth activities

  • Be informed

  • Realize all young people are at risk on a daily basis

  • Challenge the accepted social norms 

  • Know other positive community resources for youth

  • Partner with community groups

For more information about programs and resources to reduce underage drinking in Idaho, contact:    

Nancy Lopez, Coordinator
Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws
(208) 528-5702 or lopezn@dhw.idaho.gov  

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