Delaying youth drinking

Underage drinking is a major concern in Nunavut. Although the legal age to purchase or drink alcohol is 19 years of age, alcohol use among youth is a problem in many communities. One health survey of youth aged 11 to 20 in the South Baffin region found that many youth started drinking alcohol by age 14, and nearly all are drinking by the time they are 18.

Evidence shows that youth who start drinking at an early age are more likely to drink heavily as teenagers, and experience more alcohol-related harms into adulthood. Alcohol also interferes with the growth of a young person’s body and brain, so the longer children wait before drinking alcohol the better for their health.

Fortunately, there are things that parents can do to help delay the age at which their children start drinking alcohol. This section provides information on why underage drinking is harmful and tips to help delay youth drinking.