Substance Abuse

Keeping Teens Away from Alcohol Abuse

Our readers have expressed more concern about the dangers of alcohol over that of illegal drugs, and we understand their sentiment all too well. Reader Joe, a parent who would “rather see (his kids) hanging out with Aunt Mary than Bloody Mary”, gives us another insight — about how we could be of more help to society if we focus on the dangers of alcohol abuse and offering safer alternatives to alcohol use.

spiritsThe good thing about alcohol is that, as a legal but controlled substance, there are laws and checks in place to help us regulate its use. It is just unfortunate that anything that has a law attached to it has a corresponding method of how to go around that law, and alcohol is no exception. When we place a restriction on the allowable age for alcohol purchase and consumption, this gave business to people manufacturing false identification – which can make all efforts go to waste.

Maybe the way out of this mess is not through strengthened laws or the setting up of rehabilitation programs — not that we don’t need these things at all. One way would probably be for each responsible adult to do his or her own part towards keeping teenagers away from alcohol and its dangers.

The most important thing that parents and caregivers can do is to set a good example. Children and teenagers should be taught at the outset that alcohol is not meant to be consumed in excessive amounts. And more importantly, adults should never condone the consumption of alcohol by minors; these should never be served to children in gatherings, even if it is just a tablespoon or two added to a bowl of fruit punch. How can we expect children to be responsible about alcohol consumption if they are around adults who are just as irresponsible? We have had reports of parents being arrested for allowing their children to have alcohol in parties at home.

The key is to create an environment where children and teenagers will not see the need to consume alcohol at all. And this will all have to be done microscopically, in each individual household where there is open communication and understanding.


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