Unite against alcahol, drug abuse

Editorial

ALCOHOL and drug abuse among school children and other teens has become a contentious issue in major urban centres like Port Moresby and Lae.
Police in the capital city have reported cases of drinking sessions by male and female students that have resulted in violence and criminal acts such as rape.
A female student died last year as a result of alcohol abuse but that tragedy has not deterred others from continuing to join in drinking binges that sometimes last the whole weekend.
The National Capital District police command has warned time and again that many teenagers are putting their lives in danger and their health at risk by drinking, smoking and behaving in a disorderly manner.
Parents have been repeatedly urged to monitor their school children and their peer groups.
They were again reminded this week to monitor their children’s movement and ensure they were not involved in any illegal activities.
Deputy Police Commissioner Jim Andrews told The National yesterday that it was going towards the end of the school year and a lot of students would be planning to go out with the peers to drink or party.
“We have been facing problems with students being involved in a lot of illegal activities after school so parents must strictly keep an eye on their children in order for them to be safe,” Andrews warned.
“They (parents) have to play an active part in making sure their children are safe because during this time of the year students plan little gatherings to drink with friends before going on holidays.”
We agree with Andrews that it is not safe nowadays because there are a lot of things happening like rape and murder of young people and there are also school fights and involvement in cult practices.
Despite repeated warnings by authorities, many school children still get into mischief and trouble with alcohol and drugs.
Unfortunately, children of this tropical paradise are now growing up in a murky environment of unsafe sex, illicit drugs and alcohol abuse. And the sad part is that very little is being done to curb the growing addiction among our young people.
Not a week goes by that we don’t hear of young people getting into trouble with the police over alcohol and drug related offences. Occasionally, we get reports of tragedies that resulted from illicit drug and alcohol abuse.
Research shows that alcohol and drug abuse during teen and young adult years can lead to many problems for those concerned and their families.
Such abuse can lead to skipping school, bad grades, conflict in relationships with friends and peers and unstable family relationships. It can also cause poor brain function, concentration, and other areas of brain development.
Many teenagers get in trouble with the law and end up in court, involved with police and spend time in juvenile detention.
Teens that begin using alcohol and other drugs earlier are more likely to be heavy users and may become addicted and dependent on these substances.
These problems have a negative impact on their personal lives, their future work life, family relationships, friendships, and overall health.
Teens copy what they see the adults in their lives doing, and will use alcohol and drugs to feel more grown up or to rebel against adults.
Therefore, it is helpful for parents to give clear messages about the potential dangers and pair those messages with rules and consequences that are firm but fair.
Research shows that there are a number of risk factors that make a teenager more likely to have problems with alcohol and drug abuse in the future.
These include individual, family, and community risk factors.
Individual risk factors including being male, having an untreated mental health issue, having low self-esteem, poor grades in school, and poor social and coping skills.
Family risk factors include family history of alcohol and drug abuse, poor modelling from parents, chaos at home, and poor communication between parents and children.
Community risk factors are high incidence of alcohol and drug abuse and availability of drugs in the community.
Indeed, alcohol and drugs abuse requires the total commitment and concerted efforts of parents, schools and the community to drastically reduce its harmful and even deadly effects on our young generation now and in the future.

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