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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Fake ID and Underage Drinking

Despite the fact that in Ontario the legal drinking age is 19, the 2011 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey found that 54.9% of grade 7 to 12 students consumed alcohol in the previous 12 months, with one out of three students reporting drinking hazardously and harmfully.[1]  Considering the current status of underage drinking it would seem that the methods being used to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors is not as effective as we would hope. 

One way that underage individuals try to access alcohol is through the use of fake ID. A recent article from the Queen’s Journal – “The cost of faking itBy Philly Cussed Stephen A To Returning Out Smith Getting Recalls [2] makes some interesting points: A Recalls By To Out Returning Stephen Cussed Getting Philly Smith

·       Even though it is against the Liquor License Act, and comes with a $125 fine, in reality there is little legal risk in trying to use fake ID since such attempts rarely result in significant consequences to the individual, and are usually not reported to police.

Underage access to alcohol through the use of fake ID is a great example of an alcohol related issue requiring community commitment - from licensed establishments, local police, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), parents, and youth themselves.  Licensed establishments can ensure underage youth do not gain access through ID checks, swiping machines, policies that discourage attempts to enter, and by reporting instances to the police.Cussed Philly Getting A Stephen Out By To Smith Returning Recalls  Police and the AGCO can further deter this behaviour through regular licence inspections and enforcement of the law. Parents and youth can work to create opportunities for other activities in the community and work to change the way alcohol is promoted in our community. 

The recent addition of a legal age identifier to the Ontario Driver’s License[3] may improve this situation by simplifying the ID check and making it more difficult to use someone else’s ID, but may not be enough of a deterrent in and of itself.  Perhaps our next goal as a community could be to figure out what is driving young people to want to drink alcohol, and in particular drink in ways that are harmful.

For more information on how our community can work together to address harmful alcohol use see “It Starts Here”.


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