I Know My Child is Drinking

Steps You Can Take

If your child has been caught using alcohol or diagnosed with an alcohol abuse problem, there are steps you can take at home to help prevent continued underage drinking:

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Get Help and Support

Your child’s alcohol or drug use could be a sign of simple rebellion, full-fledged addiction, or anything in between, so the first thing you need help with is identifying the actual problem.

This is best done with the help of a trained adolescent substance abuse professional who can help you determine the extent of the issue and assist you in obtaining resources specific to your child’s needs and developmental stage.

For more information, including about the resources below, you can dial 2-1-1

Student Assistance Programs

Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) consist of trained student assistance counselors and/or student assistance teams.

SAP counselors and teams give educational presentations that help prevent substance use, identify students with problems and coordinate student support groups, and may also refer students to community programs for treatment. By being located within the school, SAPs help build strong connections between students, their families, school personnel and community service agencies.

List of Student Assistance Programs in Vermont

Pediatrician/Family Doctor

Contact your child's doctor to discuss your concerns. Your family doctor will be able to talk with your child about alcohol and its effect on the body.

Remember—for confidentiality reasons, a doctor can't tell you what your child disclosed, but he/she can help persuade your kid to stop drinking or to get treatment if the problem is more serious.

Treatment Providers

If your child’s drinking has begun to cause problems within the family, at school or in the community, it’s time to start looking into treatment. This is best done with the help of a trained adolescent substance abuse specialist. He/she can help you determine the extent of the issue and offer treatment resources best suited to your child’s needs and developmental state.

Most local treatment agencies have a range of specialists on staff and provide the stability, education, discipline and counseling that adolescents need to get better.

Locate a treatment provider near you

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Friends of Recovery-Vermont

Friends of Recovery-Vermont is a grassroots advocacy organization that helps spread the word about the value of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and the effects of addictions. Friends of Recovery sponsors the FACES Network (Families of Addiction Consulting for Effective Services) which is made up of Vermont parents and families that have been personally impacted by adolescent substance use and/or mental health issues.

Friends of Recovery-Vermont

Prevention Consultants

Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Consultants (PCs) are based in Vermont Department of Health District Offices and provide the following services:

Locate a Substance Abuse Prevention Consultant near you

Community Coalitions

Vermont substance abuse prevention coalitions are community-based organizations dedicated to creating a safe, healthy environment for young people. Find and connect with the coalition most convenient for you:

Vermont Prevention Coalitions

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Law Enforcement Efforts

Did Your Teen Get a Possession of Malt Beverage (PMB) Ticket?

Youth who violate Vermont’s underage possession and consumption of alcohol laws (7 VSA §656 and §657) are referred by law enforcement to the Teen Alcohol Safety Program (TASP) run by the court diversion program in each county. Participants pay a fee, meet with a qualified substance abuse counselor for a screening or assessment, must follow the recommendations of the counselor, and might have to participate in an educational program and perform community service.

If an individual fails to complete the contract, the ticket is sent to the Vermont Judicial Bureau where a fine is issued. The Vermont Judicial Bureau then informs the Department of Motor Vehicles which suspends the individual’s driver’s license. For more information, visit the TASP web site.

Department of Liquor Control

The Department of Liquor Control (DLC) is the only agency in Vermont exclusively dedicated to the enforcement of liquor and tobacco laws and regulations. The 19 DLC investigators work with local, county, and state law enforcement agencies to help prevent underage drinking. 

Learn more about the department's community efforts

Stop Teen Alcohol Risk Teams

Stop Teen Alcohol Risk Teams (START) are regional law enforcement groups working in collaboration with community partners to increase levels of enforcement for underage drinking.  If you have concerns about underage drinking parties in your region, you can find your regional START team.

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