Our Children are Drinking!

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“I’ve been drinking on a regular for over five years!” stated the 19-year-old girl at a social gathering of her friends at the bar that I sat. Now my math isn’t too wonderful but this meant that she was drinking REGULARLY (provided she wasn’t lying) from the age of 14! Now this was a young lady who seemed extremely seasoned in her drinking as I sat having my drink. This got me thinking, “how many more kids are drinking like this? Do they know the risks?”.

Underage drinking in Jamaica is when anyone under the minimum legal drinking age of 18 drinks alcohol.

It is a risk that is extremely attractive to many adolescents and teens. When young adults drink alcohol, they don’t usually realize the potential damage drinking can have on their lives, the life of their families, and their communities on the overall sphere.

Under age drinking is illegal and is becoming a widespread public health problem posing many risks.

Then health minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson said that alcohol remains the most widely used substance among adolescents.

“Approximately 10 per cent of the students interviewed reported getting drunk an average three times… and 12 per cent of the students reported consuming five or more alcoholic beverages,” said Dr. Ferguson. SIGH.

The government intends to reduce the harmful consumption of alcohol by 3% by 2018 from 2013 through a variety of methods. Through many stakeholders, they intend to implement the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the reduction of the harmful use of alcohol as well as implement a social marketing campaign to discourage harmful use of alcohol and raise public awareness, especially amongst do the youth, about alcohol-related health risks, including cancer.

WOW!!! We need to our part however as parents, guardians, friends, families and well, just well wishers for a happy, healthy, society.

Kamala Anderson, Radiographer