Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is a serious public health concern in Sequoyah County and poses significant health and safety risks. Underage drinking is especially concerning because the brain is still developing during adolescence, and alcohol can have a lasting and detrimental impact on that development.

What is considered a "drink"?

U.S. Standard Drink Sizes

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12 Ounces

5% ABV Beer

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8 Ounces

7% ABV Malt Liquor

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5 Ounces

12% ABV Wine

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1.5 Ounces

40% ABV Distilled Spirits (80 proof)
Examples: gin, rum, vodka, whiskey

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Underage Drinking Limits

Social Hosting:

Some parents believe that youth alcohol use is permissible if at home, around parents, as opposed to in public, parties or other social gatherings – this still amounts to Underage drinking and violates Oklahoma’s Social Host Law. Download the Social Host Law one-sheet at the bottom of this page for more details.

Warning Signs of Underage Drinking :

  • Changes in mood, including anger and irritability
  • Academic and/or behavioral problems in school
  • Rebelliousness
  • Changing groups of friends
  • Low energy level
  • Less interest in activities and/or care in appearance
  • Finding alcohol among a young person’s things
  • Smelling alcohol on a young person’s breath
  • Problems concentrating and/or remembering
  • Slurred speech
  • Coordination problems

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking means consuming multiple alcoholic beverages in a relatively short amount of time so as to reach a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 (the legal limit). Children and teens may reach this level quicker than adults:

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Blurred Lines

In addition to traditional beer, wine and spirits, today’s youth are exposed to new categories of alcohol that blur the lines between beverage categories. Alcohol-infused coffee, soda and energy drinks – often sweetened and packaged in vibrant containers are marketed specifically to the “new drinker.” Stimulants combined with alcohol can be a dangerous mix: According to the CDC, when alcohol is mixed with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol, making drinkers feel more alert than they would otherwise. As a result, they may drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-attributable harms.

Past Month Alcohol Use Among 12-20 Year Olds

Alcohol Attributed Deaths and Years of Potential Life Lost Under the Age of 21

71

Alcohol Attributed Deaths for youth under the age of 21

4,326

Years of Potential Life Lost for youth under the age of 21

Fatal Crashes Involving 15 to 20 Year Old Driver with BAC > 0.01

14

Number of Fatalities Involving 15 to 20 year old driver with BAC > 0.01

16%

Percentage of All Fatal Crashes Involving 15 to 20 year old driver

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For Parents...

Parents can also have a tremendous impact on their children’s attitudes towards alcohol consumption. Make sure your kids know they have a clear channel of communication open, so if they have a question about alcohol or other issues your kids know they can ask. The National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests parents can help their children avoid alcohol problems by:

  • Talking about the dangers of drinking
  • Drinking responsibly, if they choose to drink
  • Serving as positive role models in general
  • Not making alcohol available
  • Getting to know their children’s friends
  • Having regular conversations about life in general
  • Connecting with other parents about sending clear messages about the importance of not drinking alcohol
  • Supervising all parties to make sure there is no alcohol
  • Encouraging kids to participate in healthy and fun activities that do not involve alcohol

Resources for Parents and Guardians

Social Hosting

Oklahoma's Social Host Law puts a shared responsibility for underage drinking on the person providing the location for the gathering. Adults or minors can be cited and fined under the Social Host Law.

SAMHSA's Talk

An expansive resource for parents that includes a downloadable app that coaches parents on warning signs, conversation starters, etc.

Underage Drinking Facts

Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the US. Alcohol is the most widely used substance among America's youth and underage drinking poses enormous health and safety risks.