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Youth and Alcohol

Alcoholism is a disease that affects people of all walks of life but majorly affects if a person is in a stage where the life-course is between adolescence and adulthood, which we term as Youth (Wang et al., 2015). Youth is that chapter in life, when our body, mind, as well our heart starts experiencing some rapid changes and gradually everything around us changes physically, mentally and emotionally. This is the age when one is more attracted to unwanted habits and seeks a company for these short psychological pleasures. It was found that thousands of people of under age 21 die from injuries of underage drinking and driving (Centre for disease control and prevention, 2019).

The reason that this addiction becomes a habit among youngsters is mainly because of peer pressure. Peer pressure can be of two type’s direct or indirect and Direct one when your friends ask you over, again and again. Indirect one when you witness your friends consuming alcohol and that motivates you to do the same. The various surveys suggest that the only factor which pulls a teen down to this habit of alcohol is pressure from his friends. Adults are very conscious about their image that what their friends will think if they refuse, they try to fit in and avoid this awkwardness and to seek validation from their friends the often end up in surrendering to peer pressure (Studer et al., 2014).

Underage Drinking

The underage drinking is considered to be one of the negative aspects of the youth that directly impact the individual, families and community. The underage drinking is associated with multiple issues that include health-related issues like increase risk for cardiovascular diseases, falls, brain impairment, risky sexual activity and social issues like vehicle crashes, suicide or interpersonal violence (Harding et al. 2016). When this negative habit of underage alcoholism prevalent in a group of people due to peer pressure it has their adverse effects on the whole community. Addiction leads to the formation of anti-social groups which may lead to brutal crimes like a dacoit, murder, rape (Luca, Qwens & Sharma, 2019).

One of the class activities required me to think about what people with similar issues experience. I had limited information about this. Therefore, I wanted to take on further research for this. After going through different online sources, I found that the effects of underage alcohol consumption are beyond accidents, diseases and injuries for both communities as well as for the individual. Associated concern for a community includes offensive behaviour, vandalism, aggressive behaviour, petty crime, assault, noise and road safety issues and many of these leads to violence and injuries to others. The consequences by the behaviour of alcoholic harm the particular individual including his family, friends, colleagues, bystanders as well as strangers. Drinking a lot, over time makes alcohol the topmost priority for an individual and ultimately which has its ripple effect on individual's entire family, social network, colleagues and anyone else who is directly or indirectly depends on that person (Serafini & Stewart, 2015). Alcoholism not only affects the individual and his family but it also affects the community as a whole. Students who are involved in underage drinking get lower grades, later which can have a ripple effect on their employment prospects, productivity and salary potential Drinking affects academic and working productivity as a whole which somewhere affects the economy as well (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

Many factors are associated with underage drinking and they directly increase the chances of an individual to start drink. The first and foremost factor includes heredity that directly increases the chances of the individual to have a drink. The next factor includes expectancy that indicates that adolescents find it interesting to have a drink and think it will provide a good experience that directly increases their chances to have alcohol. The other factor that is associated with increase underage drinking include sensitivity and tolerance toward alcohol which state individual prefer alcohol according to the adverse effect over the body and thus they prefer alcohol until it starts deteriorating the health (Assanangkornchai, S., Tanaree & Wichaidit, 2018). There are so many free services with the support of trained counsellors available across Australia. The first service is Youth Support+ Advocacy Service (1800458685) and second, includes Family Drug Support (1300368186). The last service is Alcohol Drug Information Services (1800250015) that provide 25-hour support line service.

Health care agencies and their workers are not solely responsible to help people in overcoming illness or disease but they are also responsible to educate people to adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid health problems in future. Such promotion and campaign should be organized by these health agencies now and then. Certain trends can be adopted to overcome the underage drinking and help the individual to understand the adverse effect of alcohol over the health. The first trend includes “JOTT IN DOWN IN A DIARY” in which people keep a drinking record of every day in your diary. This will help you to understand your pattern of drinking. This record should include the date, number of drinks, time spent in drinking, occasion and feelings at a particular time. This will help your family and counsellor to understand what triggered you the most to drink. Another trend includes “MAKE A LIST” in which people reflect back in time and think when your alcohol intake caused any type of problem. Remind the times how drinking affects your mental health, physical health, family, work-life and legal issues. After making a list of problems you can easily make a list of benefits that you can achieve if you start drinking in moderation. This will remind you of your goals for the future. The third trend includes “SAY NO FOR 30 DAYS” which is a commitment for 30 days, so that person can say “no” to his cravings for alcohol. It will allow the person’s body to experience what it feels when one does not have alcohol.

Health Promotion Strategies

According to the World Health Organization (2020), there are ten health-promoting strategies available within the school and wider community that are there to support the individual to quit the alcohol. The strategies include the availability of alcohol, response by health services, policies of drink-driving and its countermeasures, availability of alcohol, leadership, commitment and awareness, marketing of alcohol, monitoring and surveillance, pricing policies and lowering down the negative consequence of alcohol.

Strategy 1- Marketing of Alcohol-

Impact of alcohol marketing should be lower down especially in teenagers and promotion techniques for alcohol marketing include linking of alcohol brands with sports and cultural activities that increase the interest of teenager. The strategy includes the following aspect 

  • Authorities should keep a watch content and volume of marketing.
  • Regulate sponsorship activities which are promoting alcohol beverages
  • Banning promotion in the activities which are especially targeting young people.
  • New policies should be created for new promotional medium such as social media.

The strategy has high accessibility because of the broader perspective and it can be easily monitored by the higher authority. This will directly decrease the underage drinking as removing sports or any cultural aspect directly decreases the interest of the individual.

Strategy 2- Leadership, Commitment and Awareness-

To deal with the problem of alcoholism, strong leadership, solid base of awareness and commitment is required. The strategy includes

  • Establishing a separate institution or agency to monitor all the government actions implemented in this regard.
  • Coordinating alcohol strategies with health-sector strategies and plan between different levels of government.
  • Ensuring public awareness campaigns at all levels of society to create awareness about alcohol-related harm experienced in the country and also about the preventive measures that can be taken.
  • Creating awareness about the harm to vulnerable groups and others by drinking.

The strategy can be easily implemented as underage drinking is a serious issue and require strict action. The strategy will help to reduce underage drinking because strict action will decrease the accessibility of the individual.

Strategy 3- Policies of Drink-Driving and Countermeasures-

Driving under the influence of heavy alcohol majorly affects judgement power and coordination of an individual. Alcohol-impaired driving is something which not only affects drinker but also the innocent parties involved in many accidents. Strategies include

  1. Reduction in the blood-alcohol limit for young and novice drivers.
  2. Promoting random breath checking.
  3. Licensing for novice drivers with no tolerance for drink-driving
  4. Keep a check on the closing time of drinking places.
  5. Conducting public awareness and campaigns in support of the policy.

The strategy can be easily implemented as the government want to reduce the underage drinking and this strategy help to reduce underage drinking as the strict policy will increase fear in the teenager that directly reduce alcohol drinking.

The educational will help to increase awareness of the individual regarding different health issue and possible intervention. The education increases the perspective of the individual that can be utilized to understand the hypothesis and evaluate the symptoms to understand the possible outcome. The education improves the financial condition of the individual that will directly increase accessibility toward health care facilities. The education is considered to be essential component of the public health and it is required to understand the complexity of health related issue (Cusack, Del Mar, C.B & Chalmers, 2018).

References for Youth and Alcohol

Assanangkornchai, S., Tanaree, A., & Wichaidit, W. (2018). Prevention of underage drinking in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 2(6), 382–384. doi:10.1016/s2352-4642(18)30138-x

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Alcohol Use and Your Health. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol-use.htm

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Underage Drinking, Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

Cusack, L., Del Mar, C.B., Chalmers, I. (2018) . Educational interventions to improve people’s understanding of key concepts in assessing the effects of health interventions: a systematic review. Syst Rev 7 (68), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13643-018-0719-4

Harding, F., Hingson, R., Klitzner, M., Mosher, J., Brown, J., Vincent, R., Dahl, E. & Cannon, C. (2016). Underage Drinking: American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 51. 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.05.020.

Luca, D.L., Owens, E. & Sharma, G. (2019). The effectiveness and effects of alcohol regulation: evidence from India. IZA J Develop Migration 9 (4), 1-26.

Serafini, K. A., & Stewart, D. G. (2015). Perceptions of Family Alcohol Use in a Young Adult Sample. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine88(3), 205–209.

Studer, J., Baggio, S., Deline, S., N’Goran, A. A., Henchoz, Y., Mohler-Kuo, M. & Gmel, G. (2014). Peer pressure and alcohol use in young men: A mediation analysis of drinking motives. International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(4), 700–708. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.02.002 

Wang, C., Hipp, J. R., Butts, C. T., Jose, R., & Lakon, C. M. (2015). Alcohol use among adolescent youth: the role of friendship networks and family factors in multiple school studies. PloS ONE10(3), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119965

World Health Organization. (2020). 10 areas governments could work with to reduce the harmful use of alcohol. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/10-areas-for-national-action-on-alcohol

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