Substance Abuse

Fewer Teens Have Access to Alcohol in South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) had good news to share: fewer teens in South Carolina are gaining access to alcohol, although those who do usually get them from adults.

The results of a 2011 survey indicated that 40 percent of teens had drunk alcohol in the last 30 days. DAODAS Prevention Coordinator Michelle Nienhius shared that the statistic is important, as it shows that majority of teens had not been drinking. The study also indicated, however, that most under-aged drinkers said that they got alcohol from an adult.

Adults who provide teens with alcohol, according to Sergeant Frank Ballentine of the Cayce Department of Public Safety, may be charged with transferring alcohol to a minor, or contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The charges may multiply by the number of minors involved; the transferring law, though, applies to those who give alcohol to minors who are not their children.

Neinhius shared: “There are so many things that can happen you mix alcohol and young people together. They don’t know sometimes how alcohol affects their bodies, they don’t know how it may affect situations that they may put themselves in, and as a parent you need to do the right thing and as an adult you need to do the right thing and be a role model.”

Teenagers themselves, however, are taking concrete steps towards ensuring that they and their peers stay alcohol-free. At Airport High School, for instance, members of the community service group The Bigger Picture Club worked on a project called “Sticker Shock,” which placed warnings on alcoholic products during prom and graduation season.

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