The Western Australian Commissioner for Children and Young People, Michelle Scott wants the state to increase alcohol prices and prosecute people who supply alcohol to minors. This is to try to combat the increasing alcohol abuse by minors.
At the same time, the WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan is asking for new laws to deal with out-of-hand parties that have become common on weekends, when kids brawl on streets, damage properties and fight with each other and police. On a recent weekend Perth police were stretched to the limit with five out-of-control parties in one night.
A recent survey conducted by Michelle Scott found that that 91percent of kids between 14-17 drink alcohol, 29 percent of those have more than five drinks in one session. That of course is highly disturbing. No wonder they run riot.
The survey also found that young people find alcohol cheap and easy to buy, so how does that relate to bottle shops selling alcohol to minors, or adults buying it for them?
The youths surveyed said the call to increase prices for alcohol would be balanced by high disposable income, taking alcohol from home, and discounted liquor.
The survey also reported the general sentiment that if alcohol became too expensive children would start taking other drugs.
I myself, know one 17 year old who threatened her mother with just that kind of action; ‘if you don’t allow me to drink I might start taking pills’. The other interesting observation was that the girl admitted that she didn’t even like the taste of wine. She drank it because everyone else did, and because it made her tipsy, free and happy, but she hated the hangovers afterwards.
Many parents are reluctant to ban their under age children from drinking, because of the enormous peer pressure the children get from others. That explains (but doesn’t excuse) the father I saw buying his 16 year old daughter a half bottle of vodka to take to a party. He argues that he would at least know what she drank and that she might not mix her drinks if she brought her own. That is only wishful thinking of course.
Alcohol, like all drugs, has a sense of mystery for young people, the forbidden attracts, as smoking still does to a lesser extent.
Perhaps parents should introduce what a friend of mine once did with his two sons when they wanted to start smoking.
He told them they could start in his presence but each of them had to smoke a whole packet during a Saturday afternoon. They did, became pretty sick, and never smoked again. It might work with alcohol as well.