Underage drinking has grown to be a major problem not only in the US but also in the whole world. Although the topic of excessive drinking has developed to be a health concern in the world, it has been challenging for the authority to cope with the alcohol problem through underage drinking. Substance misuse by young people has become a rising issue among adults and is increasingly impacting young people as well. Although there are many efforts that have been put towards addressing this issue, it still remains a big problem as there is not effective legal framework that can be used to regulate selling of liquor to the young. The two key challenges to mitigating the issue of underage drinking are the absence of a regulatory system related to cultural degradation in culture.
Prevalence of Underage Drinking
Over time, the amount of young people who participate in underage drinking has grown. There are more than 5,000 children in the US every day who get their first full alcoholic drink, aged 16 and below. Statistics have shown that alcohol is the most consumed substance by young people relative to others such as cigarettes, weed, or other hard substances. The average drinking age has been set to be between 12 and 17 years, while the average age at which adolescents are offered alcoholic beverages is 13 years. Over time, the Binge Dirking episode has also risen. The amount of excessive consumption by young people has been found to have risen by more than half relative to the level in the 1990s. Studies between 1993 and 2001 showed that in the last 30 days, more than 56 percent of children aged between 13 and 20 had at least one binge drinking chance. A new survey has found that over 10.8 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 have registered consuming alcohol in the last month. Among them, approximately 7.2 million were binge drinkers. (The Alcohol Promotion Center, 2008)
There are several explanations offered by young drinkers why, relative to other narcotics, they find it convenient to misuse alcohol. They have given a number of factors, however the affordability of alcohol and lack of stringent alcohol usage legislation have been given as the most prominent explanation that alcohol is abused than other substances.
It has been seen that alcohol is easily accessible and can, unlike most drugs, be bought without restrictions. But a fair number of them have also demonstrated that there appears to be no influence. They are not reprimanded by their guardians, except though they go home intoxicated. This is probably the main cause that as opposed to other factors that can be offered, has led to an elevated level of underage drinking. This reflects an intricate cultural degradation and loss of adult influence regarding the drinking of juveniles.
On the question of the supply of alcohol, the easy suitor was blamed for encouraging consumption under the age of supplying children with beverages and without registration. While the selling of alcohol in some locations is governed by stringent federal regulations, these restrictions in convenience stores have not been well implemented.
The reality that it is not official to look at what children drink allows it more difficult to regulate the consumption of juveniles. However it could be impossible for retail stores to put control mechanisms in order to guarantee that underage drinkers do not buy beverages because it has been seen that some of them come to buy drinks in the company of their parents. Using a series of strategies, the problem of underage drinking has been discussed. The apparatus of state protection, including the police force, was guided to deal firmly with the problem. Yet still with such a strong warning from the police, underage drinkers have still found a way to get their alcohol. It is not that there are no attempts to combat the problem, but it is the condition of moral degradation and lack of conscientious parental treatment that has complicated the situation.
Putting More Laws on Convenience Stores will Not Help
We have to accept that there are laws that have been put in place to deal with t problem of accessing alcohol but the problem has been growing day in day out. There are laws that are allowed there but it seems that there are other problems that are compounding the situation.
Imagine that you are that cashier at one of the convenient store. It is on a busy day and you are busy serving the customer. The young one comes with a few things to pay and you note that there is an alcoholic drink. What can you do at such a situation? Would you first stop serving the customer on the queue and reprimand the young one? Do you if it was the parent who had asked for the drink?
Increasing laws to regulate the sale of alcohol by convenience stores will not help to deal with the problem. Strict regulations have been enforced in schools and elsewhere, but the issue is still increasing. Even with these laws in place the number of underage drinkers has been increasing and in great numbers. This means that there are a number of problem that we have to sort out first before we think of putting more laws on the convenient stores
One of the questions about this issue is how these laws can be made different from the existing laws. We accept that there is a problem of easy access to alcoholic drinks from the convenient stores but is it only the convenient stores that sell these drinks? What about the drinks that parent stock at home?
The convenient stores are in their line of business. Selling alcoholic drinks is one of the lucrative sections of their sales. If there are stricter laws that can be developed, they may the laws that will remove the drinks from the shelves. This would be a great injustice not only to the supermarkets but also to the other people who would legally like to purchase these drinks.
The police acknowledge they have been doing their best in dealing with the problem but it has continued to deteriorate. They have been carrying out various camping aimed at reducing the access to alcoholic drinks but they will at the end find their own way to access these drinks. Marshal University Police Chief Jim Terry acknowledges that fact that they have been doing their best to deal with the problem but at the end there are a number of underage drinks accessing alcohol. Tery says, “You know that underage students are going to drink. You just tray and be responsible and stay on top of it as best as you can.” (Fields, 2007)
The police department has been given the mandate to look at the enforcement of the laws. This means that t hey has been doing their best in order to deal with the issue but it is still getting out of hand. Police work under the frame work of laws. But even these laws seem to have failed to deal with the problem.
This perhaps shows us that the problem of underage drinking is more complicated that we perceive it. It is interwoven with various issues that need to be addressed but certainly it may not involved coming up with strict law. There are issues of moral responsibility and parental responsibility that need to be taken care of before we think of dealing with laws to regulate convenient stores.
The society and the parent have a duty to deal with the problem of underage drinking rather that running to put in place regulation. Joe Lackey who is the president of Indiana Grocery and Convenient Store association in reacting to Bill HB 1250 said that “the bill has nothing to do with retailing underage drinking. It’s just about liquor stores seeking to restrict unnecessary conflict. As if only minor drinkers from convenience stores and drug stores receive their beer. Underage drinkers are much more likely than a convenience shop or convenient store to get their alcohol from a reputable liquor store, but they are also more likely to purchase it from their parent stash or an aged mate.” (Advance Indiana, 2006)
This extensive declaration aims to expose the philosophical challenges posed with the implementation of further legislation restricting the selling of beverages in convenience stores. Joe reveals that the young people should get their beverages not just from the handy shops. There are other shops where, including wee, they can have the drinks. He points out that the underage drinker may often use parents and other members of the party to procure drinks. It would also damage their activity by imposing stringent rules on convenience stores, as the amount of underage drinkers will continue to rise.
In order to curtail underage drinking, culture and parents in general have a major part to play. Putting law in place to curb selling of liquor in convenient store will not help if the parent has abandoned their parenthood duties. Parents have a duty to play in ensuring that they restrict their children from accessing the liquor drinks and teaching them the effect of alcohol. This stars from the practice at home.
Parent is preventive and the duty that parents can play in helping their children to avoid underage drinking cannot be taken over by the law. The laws acts just as a guide line but it are the people who implement the drafted law. Without the will to implement the laws in whole, it cannot be effective. Therefore parent should first take an early approach in enforcing astrictive dirking rules in the framework of the existing laws before we think of putting more laws for the convenience stores. (Wang, 2004)
The problem of underage drinking has continued to increase with time. The number of underage drinkers has increased in the recent past which has been attributed to various factors. First the parents have failed in their duties in restraining their children from underage drinking. Second there has been increased access to alcoholic drinks by the young which has been attributed to lack of legal framework to govern sale of alcoholic drinks. The police force acknowledges that they have been doing their best to target underage drinkers but at the end the number has been increasing. Therefore the problem is not lack of laws but is the failure by the parents and the society in general to restrain underage drinking. Putting more laws on selling of alcoholic drinks in convenient stores will not help to deal with the problem. Parents need to take position and play their duty.
- Advance Indiana (2006): Curtailing underage drinking or curtailing competition? Retrieved from http://advanceindiana.blogspot.com/2006/02/curtailing-underage-drinking-or.html on 30th May 2008
- Fields, B. (2007): Police continue to target underage drinking. Retrieved from http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/specialreports/x523808829 on 30th May 2008
- The Center for Alcohol Marketing (2008): Prevalence of underage drinking. Retrieved from http://camy.org/factsheets/index.php?FactsheetID=5 on 30th May 2008
- Wang, C. (2004). Children’s conception of smoking addiction; Health Edu; Res, Vol. 28