Driving is a huge milestone in a teenager’s life, It represents freedom, adulthood and a responsibility toward society as a whole. Teenagers aren’t always known for their smart choices, however, and with still-developing brains that jump at the chance for fun, alcohol is often a part of the plan when out and about with friends. Colorado has some startling statistics about underage drinking and how it affects the state financially, not to mention the emotional toll on friends, family and loved ones. In short, for every dollar spent on a drink of alcohol by a minor in Colorado, the cost to the state comes out to over $1.50.
Underage drinking in Colorado costs so much because of the behaviors that alcohol encourages. From drinking and driving to fetal alcohol syndrome caused by a teenage mom who drinks, alcohol costs rise dramatically. Violent acts by minors increase with the use of alcohol, and there are expensive substance abuse programs to consider. Plus, the cost of an ignition interlock or in-home alcohol monitoring for those who got behind the wheel of a car and put others’ lives at risk. All because of underage drinking.
Considering that it is illegal for a minor to purchase or possess alcohol in Colorado, the biggest responsibility sets on the shoulders of adults in Colorado. Not allowing underage drinking in your home, and refusing to purchase alcohol for a minor are preventative measures that anyone can take. Monitoring your minor’s activities can keep them from underage drinking, and modeling your own responsible drinking behavior will go a long way, as well.
Doing what it takes to end underage drinking in Colorado and across the U.S. isn’t difficult. When we have no tolerance for underage drinking, we are setting the stage for those important milestones to be celebrated responsibly… while keeping the rest of us safe from the potential disaster an underage drinker can create.