Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

Cops Crack Down on Underage Drinking During Spring Break

March 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Latest Post


Throughout Florida, law enforcement officials are combing the beaches, looking for underage drinkers. Officials have made over 1,000 arrests this month.

Alcohol is the drug of choice among teenagers. The incidence of alcohol abuse among minors spikes over school holidays like spring break. The beach, clubs, and alcohol are all part of the spring break experience, but not all spring breakers are allowed to drink. Because of the party atmosphere during spring break, there is more pressure to consume alcohol and take prescription drugs among teenagers and younger college students.

Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking.  Most deaths are a result of motor vehicle accidents, with alcohol-related homicides coming in a close second. The rest of the deaths are due to suicide and alcohol-related injuries, like drowning and burns. One-third of all alcohol-related teen deaths and injuries will take place in the months of April, May, June. These are the months of spring break, prom, and graduation.

Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States. More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks. Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women in one sitting. Frequent binge drinkers are more likely to engage in other risky behaviors, like the abuse of illicit drugs, sex with multiple partners, and driving under the influence.

Underage drinking has an impact on the economy as well. In Florida, it is particularly costly because Florida youth have higher rates of alcohol use than the national average. Also, Florida is a popular destination for tourists, particularly on spring break.  The total cost of underage drinking in the state of Florida in 2007 was $3.073 billion, which comes out to $165 per Florida resident. Alcohol-attributable violent crime (murder, rape/sexual assault, aggravated assault, and robbery) was responsible for the greatest costs to society, accounting for almost half of the total underage drinking cost.

Unfortunately, more than a quarter of parents with teenage children have never had a discussion with them about alcohol or drug use. Parents are urged to be clear, firm and consistent when discouraging their teen from using drugs and alcohol. Parents should also assure their teen that they will not be alone in turning down drugs and alcohol.  A recent statewide study of middle and high school kids showed that the majority of youth in Florida think doing drugs, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol is “uncool.” It is also important that parents of teens get to know their children’s friends and their friend’s parents, particularly if their teen will be spending spring break with a friend. Parents should discuss the level of supervision that they are comfortable with when their teen is spending spring break with another family.

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