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What can we do about young people drinking?

  • sozzled
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9 years 11 months ago - 9 years 11 months ago #1 by sozzled
A couple of days ago memsahib and I were looking for Christmas presents and went browsing through one of those gift shops for men. I'm sure you're all familiar with these stores: these are the ones that continue to hold back women's rights by half a century (despite the fact that wimmen love going into 'em to buy pressies for their neanderthal menfolk, like framed prints of Holdens or Fords, motor sport merchandise like caps, shirts, stubbie-holders, etc. and other trophies that would look ideal in that great bastion of male chauvinism: the pool room). The "bloke shop": Dreamworld for Darryl Kerrigan. However, I digress. While we were there we saw a number of drinking sets (pewter hip-flasks and matching shot glasses) but one, in particular, that actually made us feel outraged: a hip-flask stamped with the words "Happy 18th Birthday".

Now, there aren't too many things that cause memsahib and I to really feel strongly outraged by, but the idea of promoting drinking of strong spirits among the young is definitely something we thing is beyond the pale. I suppose, you could say, giving someone a hip-flask for their 21st Birthday (in olden times when turning 21 had some significance) is no different to celebrating turning 18. I suppose that, because it's legal for people aged 18 to purchase alcohol, to carry alcohol and consume alcohol, why should we consider it different for 18 year-olds to carry a small quantity around with them in a hip-flask? Well, I suppose I'm narked because I think that we're sending the wrong messages to our young people by giving them the encouragement to fill up their expensive-looking hip-flasks with strong spirits and liberally consume the contents every time they're out and about.

I realise that we've canvassed this subject before in other discussions (e.g. Alcohol could get smoker-style warnings and Sport, booze, testosterone ) but I believe that teenage drinking is a problem that's growing ... not a problem that's going away. I also believe that our society is not doing enough to take a firm stand and demand that action be taken.

This was the editorial of yesterday's Brisbane Courier-Mail:

Arrests not enough to stop boozing

We all know good people do stupid things when drunk. But rarely has that fact been rammed home as powerfully as at the weekend when Operation Unite led to hundreds of people being arrested across Australia and New Zealand for booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour. Few people when getting ready for a fun night out plan to run foul of the law, hurt others or humiliate ourselves. But that's precisely what happened at the weekend - as it does every weekend - as alcohol continues to get the better of otherwise sensible citizens.

Australians have always loved a drink but something has changed in recent years. Intoxicated trouble-makers are no longer a tiny fringe-dwelling minority. Today, we instead see more and more middle Australians before magistrates after a night of drunken mayhem. It's as if a great cultural switch has been thrown. We therefore wholeheartedly support Operation Unite and any comparable campaign to make safe our city streets.

But we also know that arrests alone are not enough to reverse this great shift in our social thinking. It's akin to applying a topical ointment to a particularly pernicious disease.

There are many stakeholders in and around the alcohol industry and it's as foolish as it is blinkered to blame one factor alone for the alcohol epidemic. We all must instead take a step back and ask what each of us can do to reduce booze-fuelled crime.

Of course, some will complain that any call to rethink the way we drink is boring or a step closer to the “nanny state”. But since when is it being a wowser to act like an adult and take responsibility for one's own behaviour? And how does enforcing respect for the basic rights of others equal the “nanny state”?

The Federal Government must lead by example and rethink its own dependence on the huge tax revenues alcohol sales generate. Last year, the so-called “sin taxes” from tobacco and alcohol sales raised almost $9 billion. All governments must consider weaning themselves off taxation from products that cause misery.

And liquor retailers have a special obligation to be responsible in the sale and use of alcohol, especially since last month's High Court decision found that bar staff effectively have no general duty of care over drunken patrons. Despite the law prohibiting the sale of alcohol to intoxicated persons, who remembers the last time a staff member was actually charged for an offence that occurs daily in most licensed establishments?

But advertisers - and the media generally - also have a role to play in reconsidering how they target young audiences. The need to de-couple alcohol from glamour, fast times and youthful bravado is particularly overdue. And this is where two of the most important agents for change come in. While teachers must broaden health education classes to ensure all students see the potential damage alcohol can cause the human body, parents hold a special responsibility as role models of responsible drinking.

Together we can turn the tide and allow all of us to have a good time without, in the words of the NSW Government, “behaving like a moron”.


I agree with the fundamental argument of the case: an endemic problem cannot be solved merely by ramping up a law-and-order push but, rather, could do much better if community attitudes were significantly shifted. However, just in case you think that we should somehow revert to an early 20th-century model of anti-drink, I'd like to share the following with you:



!!!

Well, we could wipe out the industry in selling hip-flasks to 18 year-olds if they raised the legal drinking age to 21, say ... :P

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
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Last edit: 9 years 11 months ago by sozzled.

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9 years 11 months ago #2 by Tushy
I dont think the drinking age should be changed to 21 Sozz, I think if they can vote and drive, they should be responsible enough with their drink, but we live in a culture that seems to encourage drinking as a hobby, unfortunately.

As for this 18th bday flask, its abit the same as these stupid T. Shirts you see people buying. Whats it say about them?
If companies can make a dollar out of you they will and its the dumbos that line their pockets.

We have been through this discussion before regarding drinking - I am still waiting for these warnings??? Bit disappointing if you ask me

Maybe they should start putting signs in the cities like they have in the NT - whats good for the goose should be good for the gander

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9 years 11 months ago #3 by Tushy
There you go..

Driver charged after crash kills boy in front yard

www.theage.com.au/national/driver-charge...d-20091221-l7nt.html

Police have charged an alleged drink-driver over the horrific death of a six-year-old boy mown down in his Morwell front yard yesterday as he played with his mother.

The culpable-driving charge came as police established crime scenes at the crash site and a nearby house.
The 25-year-old driver, from Morwell, is expected to appear at Latrobe Valley Magistrates Court later today. Police will allege he returned a blood-alcohol reading of .109.

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9 years 11 months ago #4 by ConcertForGeorgeNut
Replied by ConcertForGeorgeNut on topic What can we do about young people drinking?
I think we first of all need to know why some young people are drinking to the point where serious anti-social behaviour results. Finding out why means asking questions.

Do some people deliberately set out for a night on the drink with the intention of becoming a pest, nuisance, or even a threat at the end of it ??

I dunno the answer to this question but, I think we need to be asking a lot more questions and seeking to find answers to them.

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9 years 11 months ago #5 by Tushy
George, our generation and this generation have NO EXCUSE to be driving around with a .17 alcohol reading. With all the education out there regarding drink driving, what more do they want?

I didnt write what I was thinking when I posted that article but you can imagine what it was.

They need to do more regarding all this.

Another life lost.

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9 years 11 months ago - 9 years 11 months ago #6 by sozzled
Replied by sozzled on topic What can we do about young people drinking?
One of the serious problems that I have with the so-called issue of binge-drinking concerns the preponderance of anecdotal "evidence" given, in particular (but not exclusively), by the tabloid press. Every other day, it seems, newspapers, talk-back radio, television "current affairs" programs - even the Australian Government - sensationalises the "alarming statistics" or "alarming trend" among today's young people by referring to horror stories of mobs of youth who "regularly" embark on drinking orgies. Every other day, it seems these very same sources talk about or sensationalise (I don't know) such stories and use them ... for what purpose? To draw to our attention the urgent need that, as a community, we have a responsibility to do something about the problem?

Call me a binge-drinking "sceptic", if you like. I'm still trying to obtain reliable data, drawn from the Australian experience, that attempts to statistically quantify the scale of the problem.

When I read stories such as the one Tushy has just referred to, I am not appalled ... I find the details sickening. It's not just that a wonderful life has been lost, in tragic circumstances ... any loss of life is tragic. The case is made more profoundly tragic because the specific in-depth details involved: the case involves a refugee family and an innocent young boy whose opportunites were snuffed out by reckless, thoughtless bastardry.

I fail to understand why it is that young people choose to begin their night's entertainment activities at a time when I usually go to bed. Am I that old, that intolerant, non-understanding and out-of-touch with the modern world? Is it acceptable - dare I say, should it be acceptable - for people to commence their night-time thrill-seeking at 11:00 PM, or later? So, when George asks for reasons why young people embark on alchohol-fuelled evenings of total disregard for social propriety perhaps it's because of the similar availabilty of night-time venues, night-clubs or bars, that never seem to close their doors?

However, in searching for information that, at least, tries to quantify the scope of the problem and ways of tackling it, I have recentl.y come across some information that you might find worthwhile: see AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Survey , Violent and antisocial behaviours among young adolescents in Australian communities and The avoidable costs of alcohol abuse in Australia and the potential benefits of effective policies to reduce the social costs of alcohol .

If you think I'm wrong then say "I think you're wrong". If you say, "You're wrong", how do you know?
Last edit: 9 years 11 months ago by sozzled.

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9 years 11 months ago #7 by Tushy
Seems we are back on this topic again..

Sozz, for once I am not going to shoot the media down, whether its sensationalised or not.

I think its been the best thing they have done bringing all this out in the open. If it saves one life because of a news article and makes them think, then good.

I also think the clubs have a responsibility in how they serve alcohol, seems the world is all out for themselves of late

In this case, wasnt a club, was his friends that encouraged him, adults mind you :S

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