Survey Shows Teen Alcohol Use In Illinois Higher Than US Average

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, Illinois juvenile crimes lawyerSpring is a popular time for teen drinking. Prom, spring break, and graduation celebrations all provide opportunities for underage drinking, and advocates are encouraging parents to discuss the consequences of underage drinking with their children. Aside from physical and emotional harm, underage drinking can bring with it a slew of legal consequences if caught. In Illinois, consequences can include misdemeanor charges, and the penalties increase if the drinker was behind the wheel or used a fake form of identification to acquire the alcohol. These consequences, however, do not seem to be slowing Illinois teens.

Higher Than National Rates

According to a new report conducted by the Illinois Youth Survey, alcohol abuse by Illinois teens is higher than the national average. The survey results show that 26 percent of Illinois 8th graders report drinking alcohol in the past year. By senior year, the number increases significantly. 62 percent of Illinois high school seniors report consuming alcohol within a year from the survey date. While the survey shows that overall underage drinking in Illinois is down compared to past years, Illinois teens are more likely to consume alcohol compared to their national counterparts. In Illinois, 14.9 percent of 8th graders reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, compared to 10.2 percent of 8th graders nationwide. Similarly, 44.4 percent of Illinois 12th graders report consuming alcohol in the past 30 days, compared to a national 39.2 percent. Underage drinking advocates are optimistic, however, as the results show underage drinking in Illinois is declining, and binge drinking among teens is down as well.

Underage Drinking Has Consequences

Illinois advocates are calling for parents to educate their children on the consequences of underage drinking. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, underage drinkers tend to struggle with school, and are at risk for health problems such as depression. Teens who drink may find their educational growth slowed, as adolescent drinkers tend to face difficulty with information retention, memory, and vocabulary. Additionally, alcohol can impact a teen’s sleep cycle which not only makes education difficult, but can upset the release of hormones needed for maturation and growth. Underage drinking can carry a lifetime of consequences, as studies show those who start consuming alcohol prior to age 15 are five times more likely to develop drinking problems and alcohol addiction compared to those who start drinking at or after turning 21.

On top of the many potential health consequences associated with drinking underage, Illinois holds a “Zero Tolerance” policy towards underage drinking. The possession or consumption of alcohol by an underage individual could result in a Class A Misdemeanor with potential fines of up to $2,500, possible jail time, and a driver’s license suspension. Those charged with providing alcohol to minors face jail time, a misdemeanor, and a minimum fine of $500.

If you or your child is facing charges related to underage drinking, you need the help of an experienced Chicago area criminal defense attorney. Attorney Hal M. Garfinkel and his team have years of experience handling a variety of criminal cases, and are here to assist you today. Call 312-270-0999 today to learn more about the options available to you.

 

Sources:

https://iys.cprd.illinois.edu/UserFiles/Servers/Server_178052/File/state-reports/2014/2014_IYS_State_Report_Narrative_FINALJuly2015.pdf

http://www.mystateline.com/news/study-teen-drinking-in-illinois-higher-than-national-average

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