Alcohol and Drugs
We often hear large number of children/teenagers showing up at the
Emergency Room (ER) with enormous amounts of alcohol in their
blood. An alcohol percentage that is equal to the intake of 1.3 gallons
of Breezers (an alcoholic beverage that tastes like a soft drink) is not an
exception! That is a lot of little bottles. These are, of course, excesses.
And then people will make haste to say that every generation worries
about the licentious behaviour of teenagers. However, when you look
at the statistics, there is a huge problem. There is a steady yet sharp
increase of alcohol and drug abuse. The average age that children turn
to drinking and drugs is steadily decreasing.
By drugs, I mean the smoking of marijuana and hash and the taking
of ecstasy, LSD, GHB, mescaline, crystal meth, crack, poppers, magic
mushrooms, cocaine, heroin, morphine, Quaaludes, and so on.
There is a large group of middle and upper-class parents that
is convinced that substance abuse will never enter their proper
neighbourhoods or their proper schools. However, sadly, substance abuse
knows no boundaries. Whatever your belief or attitude may be, it
is of the utmost importance to put this issue on the agenda in your
communities. I believe it is important to realize that several aspects
play a role here:
1. The commercial availability and marketing of intoxicants:
Alcohol (and to some extent drugs and smoking) are still seen
as cool by many children and teenagers. Commercials always
show happy, popular people drinking and smoking. A party is
not considered to be a party unless alcohol is included. In many
countries, liquor is even available at petrol stations and from
a wide array of 24-hour shops. The most ruthless marketing
machines worldwide are those of the drug cartels, liquor and
cigarette manufacturers, as well as pharmaceutical companies.
Obviously drug cartels do not do traditional marketing, but
they employ ruthless strategies to get as many people as possible
hooked on their product.
2. The history of alcohol and drugs, as well as cultural aspects:
For the last few hundred years, drugs and alcohol have been
big business. These intoxicants have been fought over and
prohibited in various forms at various times. In many so-called
primitive societies, drugs, and to a lesser extent alcohol, are only
taken during special ceremonies and celebrations, thus having
a clear communal purpose. The only societies that I believe are
primitive are many of our current Western societies that have
been fighting thousands of wars over the last five thousand
years, and are doing everything they can to eradicate as many
species as possible, while destroying our environment, not
to mention the killing and torturing of millions in the name
of their God by, for instance, the Catholic Church.
The socalled primitive societies tend to have a huge respect for – and
understanding of – Mother Nature. In modern culture, drinking
is a social norm, in the sense that almost every gathering from
family dinners to any event with friends includes alcohol. An
exception would be most Hindu and all Muslim gatherings/
There is a ruthless marketing machine out there with only one
goal – to make sure as many youths start drinking as early as possible!
The mainstream media do not help when they sometimes state that
there is no real youth alcohol problem, and that every previous generation
was binge drinking as well.
You can find more out about my parenting methodology in my book, Oops The Parenting Handbook.
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