#MentionPrevention: Pandemic ignites underaged drinking surge
At a recent school meeting in Southern Connecticut it was reported that underage drinking has increased and replaced vaping as a result of the pandemic. It was also reported that many students wary about the connection of vaping and susceptibility to COVID-19 and it has decreased their interest in usage at this time.
But why has alcohol gone back on the rise? ACCESS. Many high school students have easy access to alcohol, especially during the pandemic. Some accessibility comes from unsupervised/unlocked liquor cabinets, friends or fake ID’s. However the newest form of access is delivery. During the pandemic alcohol delivery became permitted. This was a service I never utilized and I wanted to see how easy or hard it would be to order alcohol and what the process was to gain access through delivery. I ordered alcohol to be delivered to my home through a delivery app. In order to place my order with the app, I was asked to enter my birthdate. The alcohol was delivered and placed at my front door within a matter of two hours. No one rang the bell or asked to confirm my identification. Now think about this exact scenario with an underage student ordering alcohol off of the same app. All they have to do is put in a legal birthdate and it will be delivered to their front door with no questions asked.
Being that this a new form of delivery and it is being done during a pandemic it is expected that the system will have some glitches in the way it is run. While in the pandemic a lot of people would like to conduct business with “no contact”, therefore things are left at the door and communication is done through technology. Thus, this leaves a lot of room for deception. Though I am just hearing about this being an issue this month, it seems to have begun around May 2020 as some states began seeing a rise and the risk. Here are a couple of links to articles that expressed concern.
It is imperative to stay aware of the different ways it is possible for youth to gain access. It is getting harder as technology advances, but knowing is half the battle. This is not only a danger to the youth but also to businesses that participate in the delivery services as well. Many businesses have joined the delivery process during the pandemic to balance the lack consumers who attend in person. However, they are faced with another obstacle – if the business is affiliated in any way with an illegal delivery to a minor, the business can face consequences.
I am unsure what the answer is to defeat this obstacle, however communication is always important. Check to see if your child is using any delivery apps. Check your delivery statements to see if there have been any charges to your accounts that look suspicious. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. #mentionprevention