Teens Have Easy Time Buying Booze Online | The Fix
facebook twitter RSS
HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

Teens Have Easy Time Buying Booze Online

An experiment in which underage youths are asked to try to buy alcohol online reveals just how ineffective the system is.


No need to beg a 21-year-old anymore.
Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda


| Share

Underage drinkers have an easy time purchasing alcohol online, according to a new study published by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recruited eight young adults—aged 18-20—to participate in a study to test whether they could buy booze online without complications. For purposes of the study, the participants were told to lie about their age when filling out the online order forms, but to admit they were not 21 if they were asked by the delivery person. Around 100 orders were placed online through different websites and deliveries were made by UPS or FedEx. By law, the US Postal Service will not accept shipments of alcohol. The results show that only 28% of orders were denied after the participant's age was revealed, and 45 of the 100 orders were successfully made and received.

“With just a few clicks on their computer or smartphone, kids can order alcohol delivered to their home,” says lead author of the study Rebecca Williams, Ph.D., research associate at UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. “We were amazed at how easy it was for minors to buy alcohol online. Using their real ID and a prepaid Visa card, they could place an order for alcohol in just a few minutes and often have it delivered to their door in a matter of days without anyone ever trying to verify their age.” The researchers partly blame the delivery service providers who failed to check ID’s with 36% of the alcohol purchases being left at the door. “Some packages were left at the door, or handed to recipients after checking an underage identification or simply asking if the person receiving the package was 21. UPS procedures are put in place to reduce the risk that any minors would have access to illegal alcohol,” she says.  “If UPS is involved in deliveries containing alcohol, the delivery person would need to secure an adult signature.”

Rehabilitation Directories

Most Popular
Sober Living
Suboxone: Trading One Prison Cell for Another

Suboxone seemed like a get-out-of-jail-free card, the answer to my opiate addiction. Instead, I had a new ten-year addiction, complete with thinning hair and lost motivation.

The Rehab Review
Cliffside Malibu

The “beach-house-relaxed” Cliffside Malibu claims to provide an oasis for recovering addicts and alcoholics. And that’s just what you'll get—if you’ve got the cash.

Morningside Recovery

For a “rehab near the beach” experience that isn’t quite as costly as similar SoCal competitors, head to this Newport Beach treatment facility.

AToN Center

Whether you’re interested in the 12 Steps, SMART Recovery, or holistic treatments, this luxurious, appealing and commendable 4.5 star (our system doesn't yet show the 1/2 star) San Diego rehab has a program for you. 


This exclusive Northern California rehab is all about client choice—as well as golf outings, Buddhist field trips and keeping up with the office.

Capo By The Sea

Capo By The Sea offers an executive rehab program complete with medical detox and a focus on dual-diagnosis issues, as well as an outpatient option in an environment that exudes the kind of beach house optimism one would expect from an Orange County recovery outfit.

Journey Malibu

Want many of the luxury amenities A-listers have come to expect—including an enormous backyard with a pool and patio, an herb garden, a volleyball net and a spectacular vista of the Santa Monica mountains—with a recovery program to match?

The Ultimate Guide to Rehab

What you need to know when choosing an addiction treatment center.

the fix tv