Teen drinking is still a serious problem with alarming side effects.
Teen drinking is still a serious problem with alarming side effects.

Youth drinking under spotlight

TEEN drinking is illegal yet statistics show numbers have been steadily increasing since the 1990s, says Drug and Alcohol Prevention Promotion liaison officer Olivia Vorpagel.

The issue is not new but it is still a huge concern due to the alarming side effects, she says.

The topic was recently highlighted in Marist College’s newsletter where Principal Marie Martin wrote of the problems teen drinking could cause.

She said while the school had not experienced particular instances of teen drinking, she wanted to draw attention to the negatives of it.

She also said while the school encouraged appropriate behaviour through its curriculum and gave advice to students, the responsibility of teenagers on the weekend came down to parents.

Ms Martin wrote that she had lost two students to sheer stupidity – the result of the false bravado created by too much alcohol along with a rise in promiscuity which parallelled excessive alcohol use.

Ms Vorpagel said presentations held in the region had revealed many teens knew little about the short and long-term effects of alcohol on the brain and the first aid required if a peer did overdose.

“In working with other team members, it’s revealed that there is a plethora of issues related to team drinking, including relationship issues, casual unsafe sex, reckless dangerous behaviour, alcohol addiction as well as major health issues and mental health problems,” she said.

“There is no quick solution to stop teen drinking as years of social conditioning has created a drinking population.

“Schools, community groups, youth groups, programs, police service providers and parents all need to join together to begin to stop our drinking culture.

“Information is power and the more we can notify our youth about the potential harms associated with drinking, the more informed decisions can be made in regards to their safety.”

Ms Vorpagel will be running a workshop on youth drinking, how to address it and where to seek help.

The workshop is open to anyone who is interested in finding out more information about this problem.

To register interest, contact Ms Vorpagel on 0458 158 858.

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