66% underage learners in Western Cape binge-drink
Too many underage learners in the Western Cape binge-drink and we need to stop it.
Alcohol, the devil you know.
It’s something we are exposed to pretty much from the start of our young, impressionable lives but hey- it’s legal- but only from when you are 18 years old. Yeah right!
Alcohol markets itself as cool, sexy and grown up- things every teenager wish for. (little do they know.)
Harrowing statistics from 2011 show that 66% of Grade 8 to 10 learners from a sample survey of 20 227 reported using alcohol (13 334 learners.)
Of which 22.3% reported binge drinking in the two weeks prior to the study and 10% reported being drunk on a weekly basis.
Seeing as this survey is grossly outdated, the number is probably much higher today.
It’s not all fun and games
Yesterday Bronagh Hammond, provincial education department spokesperson, said they had received 50 expulsion recommendations for alcohol and drug between January and June this year, of which 13 pupils were expelled.
Alcohol usage has been linked to absenteeism, failing grades, dropping out of school, risky sexual behaviour (including teen pregnancy) and being injured.
Prof. Charles Parry, director of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Research Unit at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) says that getting the 2017 Western Cape Alcohol Harm Reduction White paper approved by the provincial parliament would be a good start to reduce alcohol consumption in schools.
“Other things to consider that would have an impact on youth accessing and binge drinking – increase excise taxes, prosecute people selling to underage persons and closing outlets for a week or two who are caught doing so would be a good start, more comprehensively limiting youth exposure to alcohol marketing and raising the drinking age to 19,” Parry said.
66% underage learners in Western Cape binge-drink, but it’s time we do something about it and safeguard the future of our youth.