In the aftermath of a man being kicked to death, The Chief Constable of Cheshire Peter Fahy, has spoken out on the role of bad parenting and cheap alcohol in underage drinking... For some time now police and organisations such as Alcohol Concern (AC) have warned that under-age drinking has reached nightmare proportions, much of which can be attributed to trendy 'alcopops' and the proliferation of 'premium' beers. He went on to say that alcohol was fuelling a wave of violence and disorder across the country. Despite an increase in the number of police officers across the Country, this National problem is a constant drain on our resources.
One of the AC factsheets on youth drinking highlights the fact that; 'By the age of 13, the proportion of those who drink exceeds the proportion of teenagers who do not drink'. It goes on to say, 'There is an association between alcohol and crime or anti-social behaviour. 16% of school attendees, who had committed a crime, reported that they had been drinking prior to the crime'. For police officers this research only supports what we see on our streets and in city centers most nights of the week!
In a joint report by the charity UK Youth and the Drink Aware campaign into the youth drinking culture of Booze Britain it was highlighted that the dominant view amongst young people was, 'they drink to get drunk'. That is their sole purpose, it is not a bi product of social intervention, like many of us who have one too many. This has been graphically and widely highlighted in the TV series by the same name.
Drink Aware states that; '18 - 24 year old men drink more heavily than any other group' and that, '18 - 24 year old women are catching up with the men'. They go on to say that; 'Research from the US shows that the younger a person is when they start to drink, the greater their risk of alcohol-related problems later in life'. This however is mitigated by the fact that, if young people learn about and sample drink in a 'controlled environment' like the home, they are far less susceptible to alcohol problems in later life! Now we are back to the parenting issues that Peter Fahy eluded to.
And here's the rub... How are we ever going to break this dismal chain of events? So many of the parents today were no more then children themselves, with the same mentality and outlook on life when they actually became parents. A chicken & egg scenario with no easy answers!