Underage Drinking

The 2023 Youth Voices Count survey revealed that 5% of Vernon’s youth in grades 9-12 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. The average age of first-time alcohol use among Vernon youth was 13 in 2023. Data shows that the later the onset of alcohol use, the less likely a person is to later become addicted.

Many teens access alcohol by taking it from their parents or other older adults. Make sure any alcohol in your home is inaccessible to minors by keeping it out of reach or in a locked cabinet. Be sure to make consequences clear if you notice anything missing.

Social Host Law

It is not legal or safe for parents to serve alcohol to teens. Parents who allow their children and friends to drink at home, also known as social hosting, can face serious consequences, such as heavy fines, probation or even jail time.

What is the Social Host Law?

In 2012 a law was passed that makes it illegal to allow minors under 21 years old to possess alcohol on private property. This means the owner of a private property or “dwelling unit” is responsible for underage drinking on their property. 

The law requires anyone who is aware of a minor possessing alcohol to make a reasonable effort to stop it. Liability extends to anyone who has failed to stop possession. 

The law also applies for cannabis. 


The Social Host Law can be found: here

What are the consequences?

  • Class A misdemeanor and can result in up to a year in jail, up to a $2000 fine, or both 
  • Selling or delivering alcohol to a minor is a Class E felony and can result in up to 18 months in jail, up to a $3500 fine, or both 
  • Consequences to minors: 1st offense is an infraction, following offenses include fines, a suspended license, or a delay in obtaining a license

Do you know the CT liquor laws? Be sure to review them here to make sure that you and your children are aware of the penalties for drinking under the age of 21. CT liquor laws


What can parents do?

One of the most important ways to prevent your children from engaging in alcohol use is to: 

  • have conversations about the risks associated with using alcohol at an early age
  • set clear rules
  • set a positive example by not engaging in risky behaviors, such as drinking and driving  
  • if you are aware of any underage drinking, intervene and stop minors from drinking
  • learn how to do start these conversations on our Tips for Talking


Complete this Family Agreement Form with your children. This agreement encourages parents to pledge to keep their children safe and alcohol-free and encourages children to pledge that they will not engage in underage drinking.


Sources: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. RHS 2023 Vernon Youth Voices Count Survey Summary


Revised March 2023

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