Even in the case of cough medicines, parents have to wait a while before introducing their children to alcohol. The chemical in beer, wine and liquor has an outsized effect on young people and can have negative effects on young brains well after initial consumption. But there are limits to the generally understood prohibition of drinking alcohol as a minor.
Much like other states, Georgia restricts underage drinking by setting a minimum age for the purchase or consumption of alcohol. There are very limited situations in which a person below the age of 21 may legally drink, such as under the supervision of parents or guardians, but minors are enjoined from drinking under most circumstances in Georgia.
Drinking alcohol often begins as a social activity, shared with family and friends. Many responsible parents try to introduce their children to alcohol in a safe environment so they can accustom themselves to its effects on the mind and body. This is why Georgia law allows minors to drink under their parents' supervision and in their parents' homes.
From toasts at weddings to beers at a football game, alcohol is a part of many cherished American traditions. Although some type of booze mixes with every soda pop, alcohol never mixes with driving a car, working with machinery or being below the proper age.
Everyone, especially minors, knows that the legal age for consuming alcohol is 21 years in the United States. However, most people have at least tried alcohol before they reach that age. In Georgia and 44 other states, there are some legal options for minors to have alcohol.
It is illegal for teens to buy and consume alcohol, as the legal drinking age is set at 21. However, studies show that underage drinkers from 12 years old to 20 years old actually drink around 11 percent of the country's alcohol on an annual basis.
There's never a good time for a minor to get caught with alcohol. Possessing alcohol, even if the minor hasn't had any to drink, is a violation of the law. This is a particularly good time to discuss MIP, or Minor in Possession, charges.
Alcohol in its many forms is the most popular adult beverage at parties, bars and other locations. Because we have built our society around cars, and using them to get around town, it's only natural that drunk driving would be one of the most common crimes for anyone to be accused of. Teens and those under the legal drinking age are especially vulnerable to drunk driving charges because drunk driving laws are strict when it comes to young people.
The Newton County Drug Free Coalition will be passing out educational materials to families concerning the detrimental impact of substance use and abuse on teenagers this spring. According to the coalition, drug and alcohol use among teenagers can result in increased levels of risky behavior, like unprotected sex, drug use, drug overdoses, suicide and violence. There is also the risk of intoxicated teens driving their vehicles unlawfully while inebriated.
Whether we like it or not, it's common for children to get their hands on alcoholic beverages and drink them. Whether the child is 10 years old or 17 years old, when a minor is in possession of alcohol, it's a crime -- and state governments like Georgia do everything they can to prevent it from happening.