Gone are the days of munching popcorn and sipping carbonated drinks while watching a movie. In a bid to woo patrons back to the cinemas and increase revenues, more and more movie theatres in the United States are now applying for liquor permits to sell alcohol on their premises. In 1997, only 14 theatres nationwide served alcohol to patrons, which rose to 600 across 32 states by 2015.
Although marketers didn’t disclose any details about the projected revenues, studies suggest marked-up concessions would certainly help movie theatres reap rich dividends. Experts believe the cost of a glass of wine in the theatre could exceed the cost of a bottle sold outside. While industry representatives maintain that such a move will boost customer experience and maximize profits in a highly competitive market, resident groups have other genuine concerns. Given the likelihood of more driving under influence (DUI)-related cases, parents fear that the theatres might end up promoting underage drinking, a serious public health problem in the U.S.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), in 2015, 7.7 million young people aged 12-20 years reported that they drank alcohol beyond “just a few sips” in the past month. In such a scenario, many worried parents and organizations, opposing underage drinking, have expressed concerns about allowing alcohol in theatres. Movie theatres, which used to be safe places once where parents could leave their children unsupervised, now were being transformed into a totally different place altogether.
Possible laxity in rules, producing fake IDs or getting anybody else to buy a drink are some of the many ways those under 21 may attempt to consume alcohol, argued the opponents. Moreover, in a dark theater, there is no way to check illegal consumption of alcohol. However, there is insufficient evidence in support of the claims made by parents of underage children, as nationwide figures show that underage drinking in the U.S. is decreasing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 5,000 underage alcohol-related deaths in 2013, which fell to 4,300 in 2016. Though the current figures are comparatively on the higher side, they cannot be attributed to the sale of alcohol in movie theatres.
Underage drinking is serious public health issue
Alcohol consumption by individuals under the age of 21 years is a serious public health concern across the U.S. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, about 623,000 adolescents aged 12-17 had alcohol use disorder (AUD). However, only 6 percent of them received treatment for the disorder at a specialized facility in that year. Since adolescence is the period when teenagers experience significant changes in their physical appearances, emotions and the way they see their future, a growing sense of freedom and unpredictability about the forthcoming phase of adulthood drives most of them toward alcohol use.
For some teens, drinking alcohol may be nothing more than an extra thrill in life, unaware of the fact that it can take a heavy toll on their physical as well as mental health. Also, studies show that genetic predisposition to alcohol, peer pressure, combined with other environmental factors, determine the teens’ vulnerability to the lure of alcohol. Besides, with advancing age, one’s tendency to increase the intake of alcohol also goes up.
No teen party in America is considered complete without alcohol. In such a scenario, underage youth may find it hard to abstain from drinking owing to peer pressure, especially in a society where drinking is viewed as a rite of passage to adulthood. Educating the masses about the health hazards of alcohol is one of the most efficient ways to tackle the rising rates of addiction to the country’s drug of choice. Parents and elders have an obligation to ensure some ground rules about partying in a safe and responsible manner. Besides, teenaged children can be encouraged to opt for other safe alternatives in the wake of the dangers of alcoholism.
Alcoholism is treatable
There are millions in the U.S. who are trapped in the clutches of alcohol without knowing that drinking heavily can make them vulnerable to serious health problems. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes annually, making the substance the third leading preventable cause of death in the country.
Just as in the case of any other addiction, breaking free from the clutches of alcohol is only possible through professional support. If you or a loved one is struggling to get rid of alcohol, contact Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, which offers a variety of customized alcohol addiction treatment programs. For more information, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives.