Online Program

Sources of alcohol for underage drinkers

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Margaret Mattson, PhD, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Rachel Lipari, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Anderson Tesfazion, HIV/AIDS Bureau | Division of Metropolitan HIV/AIDS Programs, Health Resources and Services Administration, Rockville, MD
Underage drinking remains a serious public health problem in the United States despite improvements in rates of consumption.  Although there are laws prohibiting alcohol sales to minors, significant numbers of underage youth are able to purchase liquor personally or through another individual.  Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2013) for youth 12 to 20 were analyzed. Youth who had consumed alcohol in the last month were asked if they paid for the last alcoholic beverage they consumed.  If they purchased it they were asked if they bought it themselves or asked someone else to purchase it for them.  Follow-up questions were asked to determine where they purchased the alcohol and who purchased it.  If the respondents reported they did not pay for the alcohol, they were asked how they obtained it.  Overwhelmingly, 71% of youth (both males and females) did not pay for their alcohol.  Paying for one’s alcohol increases with age (12 to 17, 6.3%; 15 to 17, 20.8% and 18 to 20, 33.6%.)  Those who pay for their alcohol (28.7%) tend to have others purchase it for them (20.5%), most frequently an unrelated person aged 21 or over (15.0%.) Direct purchase by youth at stores, bars, clubs and events was infrequent. Younger youth tend to take alcohol more frequently from their own homes than do older youth.  Females are less likely than males to pay for their alcohol and more likely to receive it from their parents or guardians, another family member 21 or over, unrelated individuals 21 and older, and individuals younger than 21.  Understanding the national level statistics on alcohol sources for underage drinkers provides information on the various ways youth can obtain alcohol and suggests avenues for education and other prevention interventions, as well as policy and legal activities.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the sources adolescents use to obtain their alcohol. Differentiate between sources paid for by the adolescent and those paid for by others. Analyze gender and age differences for over a dozen sources named by adolescent drinkers.

Keyword(s): Alcohol Use, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I hold a PHD from Cornell University with subsequent work in epidemiology and statistics. I have 37 years of experience in the Public health Service as a researcher and have been in my present position as a senior research scientist in the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics, SAMHSA. My major field of interest throughout my career has been biobehavioral medicine. I have over 100 presentations & publications.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.