Underage Drinking Facts

The facts about underage drinking are scary, but with parental involvement and proper education, we can strive to turn what is believed to be a right into a "Wrong of Passage."

General facts

  • Parents' drinking behavior and favorable attitudes about drinking have been positively associated with adolescents initiating and continuing drinking.
  • Kids who drink at home are more likely to drink away from home.
  • It takes an adult about five years to develop into an alcoholic. In an adolescent, addiction takes only six to 18 months.
  • Traffic crashes are the single greatest cause of death for persons, ages 6 to 33. About 45 percent of these fatalities are in alcohol-related crashes.
  • Alcohol kills 6« times more youth than all other illicit drugs combined.

In Kansas

Adults can be prosecuted for providing alcohol to minors. According to state statute, providing intoxicating liquor or cereal malt beverage to a person under the age of 21 is a class B misdemeanor. The punishment is a minimum $200 fine and a maximum $1,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail.

In addition, adults may be charged with child endangerment, which is defined as intentionally and unreasonably cause or permit a child under the age of 18 to be placed in a situation in which the child's life, body or health may be injured or endangered. Child endangerment is a class A misdemeanor, which means fines can be up to $2,500 and adults face up to one year in jail.

The state also has a "Social Hosting Law" that makes it a crime for parents to provide alcohol to minors on their land or in their house, whether they know about it or not. A conviction can result in a fine, ranging from $200 to $1,000, and can include up to six months in jail.

The Johnson County Attorney routinely seeks a jail term for convicted adults.

Anyone who is over 18 but under 21 also can be charged with these crimes if they provide alcohol to a minor.