In the state of Hawaii, the legal drinking age is 21 years old, but roughly 46,000 underage customers consume alcohol each year (Underage). Problems related to underage drinking include but are not limited to: violence, traffic accidents, high-risk sex, property crime, and injury. To solve the problem, family involvement is crucial, laws need to be better implemented and enforced, and more alcohol-free activities should be made available to teenagers. Incorporating these solutions into Hawaii’s communities would minimize underage drinking and aid in the success and wellbeing of youth.
The actions of family members are very influential in the lives of teenagers, especially when it comes to alcohol consumption. Data from a 2009 study in Hawaii revealed that 20% of teenagers who participated in underage drinking obtained alcohol from their parents and siblings, while 30% came from other relatives (United). Some parents feel that underage drinking is acceptable if it is done at home or with an adult. Such beliefs are irresponsible because they can cause teenagers to perceive drinking as a social norm.
Parents are role models to teenagers, and they should be responsible examples in the way that they treat alcohol. If they drink in the presence of teenagers, there should be no drunkenness or inappropriate behavior. Parents should also make it clear that drinking alcohol before the legal age is not only against the law, but unacceptable and intolerable too. Consequences should be made and enforced if a teenager is caught drinking. If a parent knows that their teenager is tempted to drink, alcohol should be hidden or absent in the household. Parental involvement is very important to prevent underage drinking.
There are many laws related to underage drinking in Hawaii, but very few are consistently enforced. It is illegal for minors to purchase alcohol and use false identification to do so (Hawaii). In many situations however, retailers are unable to distinguish the difference between false and real ID’s. It should be required for retailers to learn how to correctly identify false ID’s in order to keep minors from purchasing alcohol. There is a defense policy that allows retailers to ignore ID’s and determine if a person is of legal age based on looks alone. Such policies should not be part of Hawaii’s law; the opinions and judgment of individuals varies and is therefore unreliable.
A common way that teenagers acquire alcohol is by hanging around stores that sell alcohol, and asking careless adults to purchase it for them (Hoover). To prevent adults from purchasing alcohol for minors, Hawaii’s law enforcement should adopt the ‘shoulder tap’ operation; proved successful in California (Hoover). Teenagers joined forces with police officers by standing around alcohol retail stores and asking adults to buy alcohol for them. If an adult was willing to make the purchase, a police officer was signaled to approach and make an arrest. Within a few...