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Underage drinking during increased the pandemic: What parents can do

The pandemic has caused an increase in drinking and underage drinking. It's also easier to access alcohol as well.

HARTFORD, Conn. — April is drinking prevention month. This year the effort is stronger than ever in response to pandemic-fueled alcohol consumption trends.

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DHMAS) continues to work to raise awareness for underage drinking.

Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said the pandemic has caused an increase in drinking and underage drinking. Furthermore, it’s changed how people access it—making it easier than before.

“Alcohol can be delivered, and people are using these delivery apps more than they were before the pandemic," she said. "Alcohol can be delivered through restaurants and it can be delivered through grocery stores.”

While these dining delivery apps are not new, they have become more popular during the pandemic. Connecticut law requires that delivery people verify age when an order contains alcohol. There is some concern over whether that happens every time.

As DHMAS continues to work to prevent underage drinking, it wants parents to know that leading by example and having important conversations with young people goes a long way.

“Seizing teaching moments to have those conversations or unique moments to have those conversations and asking things like 'What’s driving the interest in drinking?'” said Delphin-Rittmon.

“We know that this past year has been incredibly hard and stressful and it’s important for parents to try not to use alcohol as a strategy for coping” she stressed.

If you know someone who needs help and crisis services, the ACTION (Adult Crisis Telephone Intervention and Options Network) Line is available by dialing 2-1-1. Crisis Services for children under the age of 18 are also available through this number.

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