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Drugs & Health Blog

If You’re Under Age 21, Drinking Is Always Illegal

This blog post is archived and is no longer being updated. For the latest content, please visit the main Drugs & Health Blog page.
Sara Bellum

You’re going to an after-prom party, and your parents ask if the host’s parents will be there. You may say, “yes,” and it may be true, but you also secretly may know that they will allow underage guests to drink alcohol. You think this is okay, because, after all, an adult is there.

Not true.

Not only is it always illegal for people under age 21 to drink alcohol—no matter where you are or who you got it from—but the adults serving underage people may also be breaking the law.

More than 30 states have passed “social host” laws that punish adults (anyone age 21+) who permit underage drinking on their property. This means that even if the adult who owns the property didn’t supply the alcohol, they can still be liable.

Read more about social host laws and what alcohol does to the teen brain.

Tell us: What do you think when adults are willing to give underage people alcohol?

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


It is sad to know that so many children are touching alcohol at such young ages. I like to see the laws hopefully tightening up to prevent this from happening. Parental liability is a must!
My parents and grandparents starting drinking in their teens. Underage drinking is not a new thing, and this young generation is no different from past generations.
This is stuiped look up the LADG legal age drinking laws.
Lying liars from Liarsville pants on fire. Shame, shame, shame!
i think if a chap wants a drink, he can have one. they just need to be responsible
If they are over 21 it is perfectly ok if they aren't going to drink
This is not true in Wisconsin.

The “social host” laws vary by state. For information on a specific state visit the “Maps & Charts” tab on the Alcohol Policy Information System page.

Yup! It's true drinking is illegal for those who are under 21 age. So parents should take care of these things and not allowed their children or any other child to drink alcohol if they are under 21 age. Thanks for sharing this great post with us. It's been really great to be here. [link removed per guidelines]
In Ohio it is perfectly okay, if it is provided by a parent, or spouse over 21. ORC 4301.69
This article is totally misleading. 1. The only time it is illegal is the purchase and public possession of alcohol 2. Many states have exceptions for those who drink on a private property 3. So no, it is NOT always illegal
Exactly this is very true as long as there is a guardian who gives permission and is present most states allow for it on private property, it's called family exception laws or something to that effect. And in some states if you are under 21 but are taking certain courses where tasting alcoholic beverages is required it is also allowed since you're not doing it for recreation but for studies for cooking and such
I like beer
This is not true in Wisconsin you can be served, possess, or consume alcohol if they are with a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who is of legal drinking age.