Substance Abuse – An Alarming Trend Among U.S. Teens

Did you know that according to a new report from National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, about 50% of high school students smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs? (WebMD). The sheer number of teenagers who are experimenting with these substances is alarming, and even more alarming is the likelihood that many of them will become addicted. TAM® Card Holders and hospitality professionals are often the first line defense against underage access to teen drinking. Are you doing everything you can to help prevent teenage drinking?

Retailers and off-site sales professionals should be diligent about checking IDs as well to make sure teenagers are not trying to purchase liquor with fake or borrowed identification. To learn more about recognizing a fake or borrowed ID, refer to our blog post, “Are Minors Using Fake IDs and Sneaking Past You?” Most establishments also have a guidebook, like the I.D. Checking Guide, for validating various forms of identification. Ask your manager if you have a guide like this in your establishment and refer to it if needed. The I.D. Checking Guide can be purchased from TAM® here.

In addition to diligently checking identification, there are some other easy steps one can take in both retail and on-site establishments to help prevent teen access to alcoholic beverages such as storing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in separate display cases, making sure containers are labeled clearly and properly, and double checking that your guests are being served exactly what they ordered in on-site establishments. For more ways to help curb teens’ access to alcohol, refer to We Don’t Serve Teens’ suggestions.

What policies have you instituted at your organization to deter teen drinking?

Resources

Nearly Half of U.S. Teens Smoke, Drink Alcohol, or Use Drugs – WebMD Health News

Stopping Teens’ Easy Access To Alcohol – We Don’t Serve Teens

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Anatomy of a TAM Card® – Find Out If You Are At Risk by Not Having An Official TAM® Card

Often imitated, never duplicated, TAM® of Nevada has been the sole provider of official TAM® Cards to the Las Vegas community for over 25 years. There are several providers of credible and effective alcohol awareness training and drink cards, but TAM® of Nevada is the only authorized provider of the official TAM® card. Also, more employers recommend TAM® of Nevada for their employees’ alcohol education than any other provider. Wonder why? You can learn more about what sets TAM® of Nevada apart and makes our training unique here.

Make sure whatever training program you choose is approved by the Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education, and be wary of any company other than TAM® of Nevada that promises to sell you a TAM® Card. All training is not created equal, and working with a fake alcohol awareness card can land you, and your employer, in serious trouble. If you already have your TAM Card®, it is easy to check to make sure you’ve received a legitimate drink card and training program. Check out the sample TAM® Card shown here, and make sure yours has the same or similar look. Look for each of the following identifying characteristics which can be found on every card:

  1. TAM® name and registered trademark. Your card should have ‘TAM®’ written across the top in the title with the registered trademark symbol.
  2. Official TAM® logo. Look to the bottom left corner of your card, underneath your photo, and make sure you see the TAM® logo.
  3. Unique Control Number. On the front of your card, you should see a chain of numbers which begin after the letters OE. A different control number is issued to each TAM® Card holder, and is unique to you. Older TAM® cards may have “LVMPD#” followed by a chain of numbers.
  4. Signature on back of card. The back of your card should have the official TAM® logo along with a pre-printed signature.

If you are concerned that your current card may be invalid, or if you’d like to register for an alcohol awareness course, you can reach TAM® of Nevada here. Remember, alcohol education is mandatory for almost all service professionals in Southern Nevada, and you can learn more about alcohol awareness education requirements by reading our blog, “Call It What You May … But There’s Only One TAM Card!

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Teen Drinking is a Dangerous Business

Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). These numbers are alarming, and service professionals should be diligent about ensuring that they are checking IDs and using their alcohol awareness training to avoid contributing to the problem.

Some adults are comfortable allowing their teenagers to drink at home, the thought process often being, “if my teenager is going to imbibe, I’d rather they do it at home under my supervision, and I don’t have to worry about them getting behind the wheel of a car or harming themselves”. Teenage drinking is dangerous, regardless of where it occurs, or who is supervising. Teens can develop dangerous drinking habits, and supervising adults should be diligent about promoting alcohol awareness and age appropriate life choices. Additionally, teens are more likely to binge drink than their adult counterparts. According to the National Society on Drug Use and Health, 72% of 18- to 20-year-old drinkers reported heavy drinking in the past month. (NSDUH).

Also alarming, a new study led by researchers at Indiana University, and summarized by CNN, shows teen problem drinking is not a phase, and could be a predictor of alcohol dependence in adulthood.

It only takes a minute to check an ID and prevent a minor from entering a bar and buying a drink, but what about off-site sales and service? Gas stations, grocery stores and liquor stores are all places that teens turn to in order to purchase liquor, and staffers at those establishments should take steps to ensure they are doing all they can to prevent illegal sales.

Service professionals must be aware of the facts and dangers of teenage drinking. These service professionals are required to obtain alcohol awareness training, and will learn valuable real-world information for dealing with these types of situations in their TAM® training. Off-site premises workers don’t necessarily know that if they sell beer and liquor to a legal adult, the adult won’t provide that liquor to teenagers, but using your best judgment and following store procedures will help to keep things safe and legal.

The national campaign We Don’t Serve Teens makes excellent and common-sense suggestions for helping to curb teenage drinking from off-site sales, “Create and maintain sales and service policies that every staffer should follow.” (We Don’t Serve Teens). Everyone involved in sales should be aware of store policies regarding acceptable forms of ID, when and how to refuse a sale, etc.

Retailers and off-site sales professionals should be diligent about checking IDs as well to make sure teenagers are not trying to purchase liquor with fake or borrowed identification. To learn more about recognizing a fake or borrowed ID, refer to our blog post, “Are Minors Using Fake IDs and Sneaking Past You?” Most establishments also have a guidebook, like the I.D. Checking Guide, for validating various forms of identification. Ask your manager if you have a guide like this in your establishment and refer to it if needed. The I.D. Checking Guide can be purchased from TAM® here.

Taking steps to stop teen drinking is everyone’s job. Parents, teens, workers, communities and others all have to work to make a difference. For more ways to help curb teens’ access to alcohol, refer to We Don’t Serve Teens’ suggestions.

What are some tricks that you’ve seen used by fake ID holders? How else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada