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Risks Of Alcohol

teen drinking is a health risk

educate teens on the dangers of alcoholThe latest research on the risks alcohol poses to our young generation is disturbing. Recently, the National Medical Research Council released the Australian Alcohol Guidelines which advises that for children and young people under 18 years of age, not drinking is the safest option. This is based on scientific evidence surrounding the development of the brain and also the high risk of accidents, injuries, violence and self harm in the 15- 17 age group.

 

  • A child’s brain is very sensitive to alcohol (many times more than an adult). The development of an adolescent brain is a delicate work in progress that continues until we are well out of our teenage years.
  • Research has shown that early introduction of alcohol to adolescents can alter the pathways in a developing brain. This may result in an increased risk of problems with alcohol in later years and also interfere with the imprint of brain patterns in areas such as reasoning, thinking, emotions and decision making.
  • These risks are significantly increased with heavy drinking at any time.
  • The effects can be insidious, which means they may happen slowly, and not appear evident until later in life.
  • Children who drink regularly by 15 double their chance of alcohol dependence by 21.
  • 65-70% of grade six and year eight children said their alcohol had been supplied by their parents.

 

It stands to reason that the toll of alcohol related harm is high in our young generation. Teenagers are in a vulnerable stage of their lives. Their emotions are often volatile and behaviour traits such as impulsiveness and bravado are a common passage on their journey into adulthood. When alcohol is added to the equation; reason flies out the window, thought processes become distorted, co-ordination is affected and the probability of accidents and risky behaviour, goes sky high.

Each week one teenager dies and at least 60 are hospitalised due to alcohol related causes. Risks are also high for unplanned or coerced sexual encounters. The statistics are disturbing and the evidence is glaring.

Our current teen drinking culture is a stark contrast to the health advice from researchers and health professionals. Teen drinking has become an accepted rite of passage, supply of alcohol is abundant and teen parties- where alcohol is on the menu are a common pastime.

Our children are our future. They will be our next CEOs, politicians, doctors, teachers and also parents. It is crucial that strong foundations and policies are put in place by parents, community and government so our young generation can be safe, healthy and reach their dreams.

See the link below for the National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Australian Alcohol Guidelines. This includes a summary of the new Guidelines, a comprehensive research report on alcohol related harm in both children and adults, facts and questions on alcohol and Aust standard drinks.

http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your_health/healthy/alcohol/index.htm#do

Frequently asked questions about NHMRC alcohol guidelines

Keep em Safe Parent guide-Alcohol and Young People PDF download

Click on links below for research articles on risks relating to adolescents and parental supply of alcohol.

Does Drinking With Parents Help Teens Drink More Responsibly?

Should Adults Allow Supervised Teen Drinking?

Teenage dinnertime tipple ‘leads to alcohol problems’

UW study: Teens don’t need parents as ‘drinking buddies’

Study: Adult-supervised drinking harms teens, saying ‘no’ better

Adult-supervised drinking in young teens may lead to more alcohol use, consequences

Influence of Family Factors and Supervised Alcohol Use on Adolescent Alcohol Use and Harms: Similarities Between Youth in Different Alcohol Policy Contexts

 

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