Alcohol drinking among youth has become a common affair. The legal drinking age in India is around 21-25 years, depending upon the state. Despite this, there is a growing trend of binge drinking among teenagers. Teenagers can be easily influenced and can be vulnerable to bad habits. Peer pressure, the popularisation of alcohol by the media, rebellion against others, depression, experimentation, easy availability of alcohol, etc. are some of the reasons why teenagers consume alcohol. Alcoholism could run in the family too, it can be another reason why adolescents engage in drinking. In spite of the alarming number of alcohol consumption among teens, there is very little awareness about underage drinking. 

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Laws 

There are no stringent laws that supervise the activity of youth or consumption of alcohol by a minor. Section 77 of juvenile justice serves to punish the one who serves drug, tobacco, or any intoxicating substance. Under section 29. Selling or serving drinks to minors or underage has to pay a fine of Rs 500. However, the rules are hardly abided by anyone. There is no supervision over the sale of alcohol

How to prevent Underage Drinking in India?

Adolescence is a very delicate age, an age that molds a child to an adult. Hence it is important that measures can be taken, starting right from home at the primary level. Parents can play an important role in preventing the drinking culture in teens. 

Here are some of the tips

  • Attitude of parents towards alcohol 

It is common for children to imitate their parents. Hence if parents are seen consuming alcohol on a regular basis, children are bound to follow their steps. Hence, avoid drinking in front of your kids. If parents are lenient in drinking at home, it has a negative effect on the child. Hence, before preaching it to your children, change your approach towards alcohol. If you reach out for alcohol whenever you’re back from a long day of work, or whenever you’re upset, you will be setting a bad example in front of your kids. Children observe and follow your footsteps, hence set a good example in front of them. 

  • Be your child’s friend

In teenagers, it is important that parents embody the role of a friend rather than someone who is going to set rules in life. Setting rules for your child will only make them feel caged and coax them to break the rules. Your children will try and explore new things every day. Befriend them and let them come to you when they want. Keep your arms open to whatever they say. It is the responsibility of the parents to make a strong bond with their kids, so that in the future if the kids want to try or explore drinking, you can stop them from drinking. Don’t scold your child to do things a certain way, explain to them the reason why it needs to be done. 

  • Encourage them to participate in extracurriculars

Keep your child busy with extracurricular activities such atrs sports, music, arts can be a good protective measure. Studies have shown that children who are more active are less likely to engage in drinking. These activities keep your children engaged and give them a sense of community. Apart from this, they can have role models to look up to who will encourage them to make the right choices. 

  • Explain why binge drinking is not good for health 

One of the main reasons why teenagers indulge in consuming alcohol is because of the popularisation of booze by the media. Teens are easily influenced by what they see on the internet or social media. You can’t control what your children see on their mobile phones or what they hear from their peers. However, you can explain what they can do when they should do when they have to make a decision. Explain to them the ill effects of drinking and the consequences of the same. Treat them like a fair individual and teach them right from wrong.

  • Teach them to say “NO” without any guilt

‘A man is known It is not always possible for parents to control what kind of friends their children make. Apart from this, children don’t like parents interfering in their lives. Hence, it is important that children are taught how to say ‘NO’ firmly to their fellow peers. Peer pressure is the major reason why drinking at an early age starts. Teenagers try to ‘fit in” the group by following what the majority follows. Declining to something may seem like a hesitation or the feeling of being left out. However, you should teach your kids why changing yourself for the sake of others is harmful. 

Apart from this, schools and teachers can play an important role by inculcating the right values in adolescents. The Community against drunk driving (CADD) works to protect communities and individuals from drunk driving and underage drinking. Schools and colleges, along with the help of CADD, can organize innovative sessions in order to help the youth make the right choices.