More than 44 percent get alcohol from adult family members or home

The Distilled Spirits Council today applauded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for calling attention to the important role parents play in reducing teen drinking. A new survey issued by SAMHSA shows that 5.9 percent of adolescents aged 12-14 drank alcohol in the past month and that the vast majority of them (93.4%) received their alcohol for free the last time they drank, and 44.8 percent obtained their alcohol from adult family members or their homes.

The distilled spirits industry’s ongoing partnership with the Federal Trade Commission’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign and other initiatives have helped to raise awareness among parents and other adults that providing alcohol to youth is unsafe, illegal and irresponsible.

The “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign is based on research showing that most teens who drink obtain alcohol from social sources — including adult family members; sneaking alcohol from their parents’ homes; having older friends buy it; or are obtaining it at parties. The campaign provides an important reminder to parents and other adults about being vigilant against underage access to alcohol and the importance of talking early and often to their teens.

“Today’s survey by SAMHSA showing that 93.4 percent of 12 to 14 year-olds received their alcohol from non-commercial sources confirms what we have long said and underscores the important role parents play in reducing underage drinking,” said Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council and a former college president. “In fact, 44.8 percent actually get it from their parents, adult family members or home. We must continue to raise awareness among parents and other adults about youth access.”

Cressy stated, “[t]he spirits industry has been in the forefront working with government agencies, communities across the country and other stakeholders to provide parents and other adults with tools to reduce youth access to alcohol. These types of public-private partnerships are making a positive impact.” Cressy pointed to the latest Monitoring the Future survey that shows underage drinking is at record lows and that teens reporting easy availability of obtaining alcohol has declined considerably in recent years.