Today’s Editorial April 20: Alcohol survey is disturbing

A four-year-old survey shows that many of our young people have a drinking problem.

The results of a survey done in 2002 prompted the National Drug Council to proclaim April as alcohol awareness month.

It’s not a month to consume as much drink as you can, but to be aware of what alcohol can do to a person’s body, especially a young person’s.

Alcohol is a drug that works directly on the central nervous system; it is a toxin.

The effects of excessive alcohol abuse on young people are frightening and should be enough to convince any teen or young person to think before they drink.

Youthful or immature organs can literally be poisoned by alcohol.

According to the American association Focus Adolescent Services, the average age when youth first try alcohol is 11 years for boys and 13 years for girls.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that adolescents who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.

One of the very disturbing things about the 2002 survey is that almost 300 of the 800 students queried admitted to heavy or binge drinking. In the survey, heavy drinking was defined as at least five drinks on one occasion.

The problem with binge drinking – besides the obvious health effects – is that those who binge drink at least once a week between the ages of 18 and 24 may have problems attaining the goals typical of the transition from adolescence to young adulthood like marriage, higher education, employment and financial independence.

Dependence on alcohol is also associated with depression and anxiety.

Drinking is also a major factor in vehicle accidents involving young people and many of those wrecks end in fatalities.

It is incumbent on parents and adults in the community to keep an eye out for under-age drinking and to put a stop to it.

The results of the 2002 study are alarming.

But another study was done in January and results are expected to be revealed in June or July.

We hope that the number of youths who turn to alcohol has dwindled.

We don’t need to raise a generation of drunks.

If you suspect your teen or young adult of having an alcohol problem, don’t ignore it. Talk to them; seek help.

The National Drug Council is here to help. It’s located at the Compass Centre next to Butterfield Bank.

If we all work together we can help raise a generation of responsible drinkers and sober citizens.

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