Protecting Young People from a Culture of Binge Drinking
The problem with teenage drinkers is that more often than not teenagers are not mentally or emotionally prepared to handle the consequences of alcohol or peer pressure. This causes them to drink excessively because as a teen, fitting it and being “cool” is often more important than being responsible.
Binge drinking has become an overwhelming problem among the youth of many communities around Oz and this culture of acceptable binge drinking is one that is problematic and needs to be addressed if binge drinking among the youth is to die down.
The term ‘binge drinking’ can have different meanings, but generally it refers to drinking heavily over a short period of time with the intention of becoming intoxicated, resulting in immediate and severe intoxication. This is in addition to the many negative long term effects binge drinking has on teenagers, one of the worst being the possibility of developing a drinking addiction later in life.
Drinking at these levels, people face many risks, including:
- physical effects—short term (e.g. nausea) and long term (e.g. brain damage)
- difficulty with their memory— for example, they might lose their phone
- coordination problems—which could cause them to be involved in an accident
- putting themselves in dangerous situations—for example, they might become angry and be involved in a fight.
Sadly statistics show that parents are the primary source of alcohol for teenagers. As parents if you are going to provide your kids with alcohol, you need to ensure that you do so in moderation, for their own safety.
Parents also play an important role in shaping and moulding their teenagers drinking habits because children often mimic the behaviour of their parents. If parents are heavy drinkers there is more of a chance that their children could develop excessive drinking habits.
It is also important for parents to remember that before giving alcohol to their children’s friends they need to get the permission of the young person’s parents. Not only is it the law but if anything bad should happen as a result of the drinking you will be held accountable.
The story of a mother in WA whose daughter was given alcohol by her friend’s parent, to her detriment, is an example of why this law exists.
This post from Yahoo News explains what happened:
Shelley McGrath knows better than most about the dangers of underage drinking.
Three years ago, she lived a parent’s worst nightmare when she received a phone call that her eldest daughter was unconscious and an ambulance was on its way.
Having dropped the then 16-year-old at a friend’s house for a sleepover, Mrs McGrath had no idea the teenage girls would then be taken by the friend’s mother to an unsupervised party. It was only at 11pm that she and her husband Anthony discovered what was going on.
Their daughter was rushed to Fremantle Hospital and filled with fluids to pump out the alcohol. Her blood alcohol reading was 0.33, more than six times the legal driving limit, because of a cocktail of “goon”, or boxed wine, and vodka.
“I was completely shocked and thought ‘how did this happen’? I thought she was safe in someone else’s care,” Mrs McGrath said. “What freaked me out most of all was the doctor sat us down and said, ‘your daughter is unconscious and they usually wake up’.”
Her daughter, who did not want to be named, survived the ordeal.