DABS: How to prevent underage drinking during the holidays

Nov 27, 2023, 6:03 PM | Updated: 6:11 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Experts with Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services are advocating for the importance of speaking with underage children about drinking during the holiday season.

In partnership with Parents Empowered, DABS told KSL TV that alcohol sales rise during the holidays, as does its presence at parties and around children.

They said it’s important for parents to talk with their kids before and during those holiday parties to educate them and demonstrate disapproval of underage drinking.

“We should be talking to our kids early and often because we know that kids and adults need to hear things more than one time before it really sinks in. That continuous conversation with them is much better than a one-time, one-and-done conversation,” an expert with DABS said.

DABS said that before beginning these conversations, it’s important to have a plan and to be thoughtful about how and when to approach them.

Parents should be prepared to have these conversations early, and DABS recommends as early as 9 years old.

It’s additionally important to know when a child is leaving their house, where they’re going, who they’ll be with, and if there’s a chance of alcohol being present. If there is, a conversation about what they should do when presented with alcohol is warranted — to walk them through the right thing to do before they’re even presented with the option.

DABS referred to a student health survey conducted in Utah every two years called the SHARP survey.

The most recent data from 2023 concluded that of adolescents who are drinking, half of them are having drinks with parental permission, often in their own homes, at least once a year. DABS advised that underage drinking should not be tolerated, even when supervised, because of the way it can impair a developing brain, which doesn’t fully develop until about the mid-twenties.

Underage drinking will affect a student’s ability to have good judgment, learn effectively, and have a reliant memory, both now and in the future.

Starter questions, guides, and other resources can be found on Parents Empowerd’s website.

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DABS: How to prevent underage drinking during the holidays