Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Binge drinking will be just the same.

I hear today that the producers of alcapop drinks are going to ‘voluntarily’ reduce the amount of alcohol in the said drinks. This was only after the Government made noises about legislating such a move. Who are we kidding if we think that either move is going to make one iota of difference to the serious binge drinking culture we have in New Zealand?
I am sure most of you have seen the images from Britain of young (and not so young) people ‘loading’ before they hit the town and then the subsequent crazy behaviours they exhibit as a result. I feel sorry for the policemen and women who have to deal with the mess and resulting criminal behaviours. ‘Never in New Zealand,’ you might have thought.
Well, hello---- such behaviours are alive and well here as witnessed by the scenes of young people throwing up in the street and fighting like demented hens. The serious health issues they are inviting into their lives are another ramification.
I hope the Government and the rest of us do not rely on such moves n=by the liquor industry to quell results of this ugly trend. No such luck. Tackling this problem now is a bit like trying to shut the door after the horses have bolted, but try we must. If not, look to huge increases in the police and health budget.
Where does the crux of the problem lay? Firstly in the home and secondly in the images we see in the media. Glamorizing and normalizing such dangerous use of alcohol has to stop. NO wonder the ‘smokers’ rightly point to alcohol abuse as a problem just as large as ‘smoking.’ That the two probably go hand in hand is conveniently forgotten of course.
Schools are often given the task to ‘change society,’ but they are only one part of young peoples’ lives and the effect they have on such anti-social behaviours, is minimal to say the least. Unless parents, in conjunction with the rest of society are able to provide safe and sensible role modelling behaviours, then why the hell would their children be any different? It’s so easy to say that ‘drinking’ is a ‘rite of passage’ and just hope that ‘she’ll be right mate.’ www.authorneilcoleman