Boozing Teens Need Help and Guidance

Article excerpt

I MUST be getting a bit soft. I started watching Four Corners on Monday night but could not stomach all of it. The story of the teenage victim of a drunken punch was heart-rending. Then I was sickened, but sadly not surprised, by the images of so many young Australians regularly and deliberately getting seriously plastered, almost as if it were compulsory.

In my court reporting days, being C[pounds sterling]drunk and disorderly in a public placeC[yen] was a common charge at drunksCO parade on Monday mornings, but the ones who had spent a night or two in the watchhouse were not teenagers with their lives before them, just pathetic C[pounds sterling]no hopersC[yen] whose lives had been irrevocably ruined by grog. Now, I fear for our teenagers.

I donCOt pretend that I and my contemporaries never made idiots of ourselves with grog in our youth, or that I havenCOt done so at various times in my life, but I have never understood why getting drunk should be seen as an end in itself.

My concern now is for all the young Aussies who have somehow been sold the idea that getting blind drunk is a requirement for peer acceptance and having fun.

It is easy to lay the blame on the alcohol industry, advertising and sponsorship, or on flawed role models or whatever, but some must fall on society itself. Why? Because we tend to dismiss alcohol abuse as just a passing, youthful episode.

For most, it may well be just that, but for those who do fall victim to alcoholism, it carries a potential life sentence. …

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