Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
No quick fix over alcohol abuse, but it can be tackled
9:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
A RISE in the number of under-18s admitted to our hospitals having drunk too much or overdosed on legal or illegal drugs – a disproportionately high number of who are girls – doesn’t come as a major surprise.
And perhaps that lack of surprise should actually sound the wake-up siren over the issue of our boozing society.
Now we can all sit here po-faced and tut- tut over the disgraceful fact that these young people are under the legal age to buy alcohol, but that will achieve about as much as a paralytic teenager shouting at the wind.
The real problem is that this is a cultural issue.
All our young people are doing is following the example set by parents and other adults who socialise with artificial stimulants in front of them.
There is no single simple answer to this and no one branch of the community that can tackle it.
Cheap booze might be a element but bringing in legislation to set a minimum price for alcohol in a free market won’t work.
What we have to realise is that if we are serious about wanting to cut binge drinking and stimulant abuse by teenagers then we all have a part to play.
There is the retail sector – both on and off licence – law enforcement, education by external organisations and also within the home.
But it must be addressed in an adult and realistic way.
Under-18s are not going to stop drinking tomorrow.
But if society as a whole can ensure that children are given a proper understanding about the dangers of excessive stimulant use – as well as clear indications of what the boundaries of acceptable alcohol intake are – then slowly these hospital figures will come down.