Underage Drinking

We’ve all seen what’s happening, we’ve all nodded our heads in agreement when others complain and we’ve all shaken our heads in disbelief when we’ve witnessed the antics… but it isn’t getting any better…… is it?

This Andersontown News article by Evan Short, FRIDAY Night on the Tear pretty much illustrates the position. Evan recounts a trip around Belfast with a photographer but, I’m sure, similar pieces could have been written about towns all across Northern Ireland. Evan writes of the young drinkers with their carry out bags:-

” Each encounter with the camera lens on Friday night prompted the same typical response. First they showed defiance – shouting abuse and waving hand gestures. Then followed the realisation that they perhaps didn’t want to be photographed swilling alcohol in full view of everyone and they tried to cover their faces. Any sense of consequence soon left them, however, and thoughts turned to confronting us, prevented only by a number of hasty departures on our part.”

You really need to read the full article to get the real picture. We also need to begin to discuss the reasons behind this behaviour and how we can bring it to an end. Don’t get me wrong here – I absolutely love me pint! But I do fear that young people are being exploited by unscrupulous publicans and being placed in moral as well as physical danger by this activity.

So… what’s the solution?

  • Lower the age at which young people can get into pubs?
  • Increase police presence in known drinking spots?
  • Arrest more young drinkers and drag them home to their parents?
  • Take the parents to court?
  • Educate young people more on the dangers of drink?

What… what? What do you suggest?


5 Responses to Underage Drinking

  1. MargieB32 says:

    I am a recovering alcoholic of 20 years so I know if a person has reached that stage of alcohol abuse, they will find drink no matter what. So, the main question is what to do to prevent alcohol abuse and this is a social problem. Young people in particular no longer drinking to be social…they drink to get as drunk as they can as quickly as they can.

    One suggestion is, if not already on the books, to pass a law outlawing drinking in public and confiscating the alcohol. That would be a major start. Also, I understand that frequently taxi drivers deliver the drink to the underage youngsters; they should have their liscense suspended. Certainly, take the children home to their parents–if the parents are at home. One observation is that the partents are out enjoying a belated thwarted teenagehood that got delayed during The Troubles so they aren’t always being as responsible as the ymight be.

    The main question when dealing with teenagers is how to help them feel they have a future that engages them in a positive way. The high suicide rate among young males, is I feel, strongly connected with the abuse of alcohol. And, the abuse of alcohol is also responsible for young people practicing unsafe sex with it’s attendant increase in STD’s and the high rate of underage pregnancies. We need to treat alcohol for what it is, a drug. A drug that is addictive and from current research is regarded as having a genetic connection. That’s all for now from me on this topic.

  2. talkni says:

    Thank you for that MargieB32.

    You raise so many points here and I agree with many of them. I wonder… Can I ask if your personal experience was of starting to drink at a very early age and, if so, do you think that led to the problems you have faced and overcome. Would someone who began drinking later in life have less risk of encountering problems – in your opinion – or would the risks be the same?

  3. margieb32 says:

    No, I didn’t start drinking until I was in my 40’s. The risks are the same at any age, however, if one starts drinking at a younger age then it has been my observation and via discussion with others, that those who do start young bypass the stages of growing up and, once they stop, if they stop, then they literally have to go through the process of reliving the socialization process of teenage and young adult life, etc.. At least when I stopped, I already had life socialization experiences, i.e., work, relationships with the opposite sex, friendships, living on my own and then later marriage and motherhood.

  4. Dawn says:

    i am a 15 year old girl from west belfast .i believe that the reason why so many teens begin to drink is because they have problems and it can help make them go away i no that are problems may seem silly to you but they are not to us

  5. Auld Hand says:

    Dawn. I can see that grabbing a drink is one way of forgetting problems but I’m not sure it is the best! Forty odd years have taught me that. Whatever the problem you have at 8pm, before you drink, is still there at 2am when you finish drinking. The only difference is that you have added a massive hangover to it so that the next morning you feel even less able to cope with the problem.

    Life is a problem that it is nice to have. Look around, breathe the fresh air and think how jealous Auld Hands like em are that you still have so much time in front of you to make glorious, brilliant mistakes that you can learn from and change the world by solving. You are lucky. You are the future. Why spend your present tanked up and hiding out on some park bench on a cold winter’s night with a couple of buck eedjits. There are films to be seen, books to be read, people to be met, galleries to be visited, ice to be skated on, buildings to be looked at, relatives to be talked to, a world to be explored…. ah you lucky thing. It’s in front of you.

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