Teenage drinking and alcoholism
Alcohol in our society has become an instrument for retreat from the harsh, cruel reality that can be life. Its effects as a depressant can have significant impacts on the behaviour of an individual. Often, actions performed when intoxicated are irrational, with the judgement, balance and responsiveness being impaired due to altering levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. If we were to play God, and we took a group of people, put them in a venue and gave them all the alcohol at their disposal, we could imagine what would happen. Sure, there’ll be people having a great time, but no doubt will there be a select few who take it too far to end the night with broken bones and broken relationships.
Alcohol Abuse Statistics
You may have already assembled the pieces of the puzzle together to determine that I will be talking about our chronic problem that we call alcohol abuse. Alcohol is a popular, readily available beverage. It can be found virtually anywhere in every populated part of the world. In Australia, the average citizen consumes 10L of pure alcohol each year as of 2010. To put that into perspective, that’s approximately 40, 700ml bottles of vodka. Would anybody like to guess how many standard drinks that is? It’s the equivalent to 880 standard drinks of vodka, which calculates to just under two and a half standard drinks every day. Now, generally you would be drunk after consuming five or more standard drinks. So one could say Australia is half drunk, all day, every day.
With those statistics in mind, alcohol abuse is a pattern where the failure of controlling the intake of alcohol result in harming one’s health, relationships and ability to work. It has both short and long term risks. In Australia, alcohol was the cause for twice as many deaths than road accidents at 3494 deaths in 2005. Every 28 minutes, a person is hospitalised for an alcohol attributed condition and overall, it costed Australia an estimated $14.352b in 2010. And it doesn’t stop there. The results of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) rate alcohol, out of a possible 100 harm rating, 72 to users and 46 to others. This exceeds other drugs considered to be highly lethal by many such as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to be the most harmful drug.
Alcohol abuse prevention
So how can we combat alcohol abuse? Although age restrictions are in place, with most countries setting it at 18 with some others at 21, authorities believe raising the age limit will solve the issue. However, I believe otherwise. Evidently, the current system is failing with individuals as young as 12 having consumed alcohol at least once. So therefore, the problem starts from here. The age isn’t the issue, it is the lack of education and good role models in media and the household. Parents should be showing their children responsible consumptions of alcohol and take the responsibility as a caregiver more seriously.
Too many times have I seen young adults put on the wrong path by their father or mother figure due to something in their life which didn’t work out the way they intended. It’s a truly selfish act. Even the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, needs to set a straight example. Just recently he skolled a glass of beer in the eyes of the nation. Opposition leader, Bill Shorten also shrugged it off as if it were no big deal. But think about it, what model are you representing to the young generation? © by Daichi Sakamoto year 12 student