Study Shows Liquor outlets promote drinking in Kids
I could hardly believe what I was reading when I discovered that children as young as 12 years old were being influenced to drink because of living in areas with a high density of liquor outlets.
This was the deduction of a study recently conducted into 10,000 high school students who were also found to be buying alcohol illegally by themselves from takeaway liquor stores.
According to the study children between 12 and 14 who live close by to many takeaway liquor outlets are particularly more at risk of drinking than their counterparts with fewer liquor outlets in their neighbourhood.
This raised a few issues for me, firstly why wasn’t responsible service of alcohol being practiced at these outlets? Secondly why aren’t authorities policing responsible service of alcohol more closely to hold outlets accountable who sell liquor to teens?
According to the study’s lead researcher Bosco Rowland of Deakin University, children living near more liquor shops are more likely to drink as it becomes more normalised and acceptable to them. He goes on to explain:
‘‘Of course if kids are going to consume alcohol they need access to alcohol,’’ he said. ‘‘But if you have got more outlets you have also got more advertising and more exposure.’’
He said the majority of teenagers who were drinking in his study were given the alcohol by an adult, with children who had parents born overseas less likely to drink.
‘‘There has been this culture in Australia that you initiate kids to alcohol at an early age, and if you go back 10 or 15 years that’s what would be promoted,’’ he said.
The Study which was published in the journal Addictive Behaviours revealed that a scary 62 per cent of Victorian teenagers say they have friends who use drugs.
According to a research fellow from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Michael Livingston, limiting the number of takeaway liquor outlets in NSW was difficult and had increased by 26 per cent over the past decade.
As he explains over the last few years the emphasis has mostly been on promoting the industry rather than its effect on young people, so authorities have been winding back a range of restrictions which facilitated the growth of a number of alcohol venues and small bars. Obviously many of these “new” outlets and venues are ignoring the duty according to responsible service of alcohol standards which is contributing to the problem.
Livingston found that population increases had not kept pace with increases in takeaway outlets, bars and pubs.
The article on TheHerald.com.au went on to explain:
University of Newcastle professor Kypros Kypri said the proportion of teenagers the study identified getting away with buying alcohol was concerning.
‘‘The fact that 19per cent [of 17-year-olds] can buy alcohol and 13per cent of 16-year-olds is really a worry,’’ he said. ‘‘That suggests the law isn’t being enforced properly.’’
However, the study did not find the same effect of outlet density on drinking among older teenagers, which Professor Kypri said may not be supported by further analysis.
His own research among New Zealand university students had found outlet density, defined in relation to a person’s house, rather than to their local government area as was used in this study, had found such a link.