Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among America’s adolescents and its toll on youth, their families and communities is serious. There are a myriad of reasons that teens decide to drink (e.g., self-medicating, mental health issue(s), rite of passage, the physical and emotional feelings that arise from drinking, social influences, easy access and/or parental acceptance of drinking). Effective judicial responses to a youth’s drinking require an evaluation of its root causes, screening and assessing, incorporating developmentally appropriate interventions and judicial leadership. It is imperative that youth are screened and assessed by a trained professional early in an underage drinking case. Judges can play a major role in curbing underage drinking by becoming more involved with strategies and programs aimed at tackling underage drinking in their jurisdiction. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judge created a bench card, Effective Judicial Interventions for Underage Drinking Bench Card to assist juvenile court judges and other juvenile justice professionals when handling underage drinking cases. The intention of the bench card is to educate and guide juvenile court judges and juvenile justice professionals on effectively handling underage drinking offenders to improve outcomes for youth, families and communities.
This bench card was developed by NCJFCJ with funding and support from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. Points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility or NCJFCJ.