Drinking over a lifespan

Underage and young people

Views on alcohol and children or young people vary by culture.  However, there are a few universal concepts to carefully consider:

  • No young person under the legal drinking age in any country should consume alcohol.
  • Drinking may have negative effects on the growing body, particularly on the developing brain.
  • Physical and emotional reactions to alcohol in young people may be quite different than the reactions of an adult.
  • Alcohol may bring about increased risk-taking that might result in negative emotional, physical and sexual experiences.
  • Decision-making can be impulsive and emotional, particularly with adolescents who are inexperienced, lack the knowledge and skills to judge where the limits are, and may have a sense of invincibility. Adding alcohol at this time of physical and emotional development can be a particularly negative mix.

Many countries have age limits for the purchase (legal purchase age, or LPA) and consumption (legal drinking age, or LDA) of alcohol – find out yours here.  Families should be aware and understand the laws about these legal age limits and how they apply to drinking inside and outside the home.  Underage drinking is illegal and can have harsh penalties, including jail time for those who provide alcohol to those under the legal age limit.

The legal drinking ages are designed to protect growing young people from harm, as their bodies, brains and judgment are still developing.  Drinking at this time – particularly heavy drinking — could have long-term negative physical and psychological consequences.

IARD members want to be very clear:  They do not want their products to be sold or distributed to those who are underage.