Are laws to blame?
Sophia, 16, shares her opinion on binge drinking in Britain.
The British media believe all young people to be extreme 'binge' drinkers, with no regard for their bodies or actions once they have had 'one too many'.
Evidently, the writers of these scandalous and shocking stories are completely out of touch - have they ever attempted to buy alcohol whilst under age? If they had, maybe the papers would report a different tale, it is not the young people who are the problem.
Obviously, I am not naive enough to suggest that excessive drinking is not a topical issue - it most certainly is. However the question has to be asked: Who is causing the problem and who is supplying young people with alcohol?
If licensing laws are how they should be, no person under the age of 18 should be able to purchase alcohol and therefore be able to drink excessively. It is also not just a case of being 18. Recent laws say any person appearing to be under the age of 25 must provide photo I.D before being sold alcohol. This must mean that people over the age of 18 are providing young people with alcohol. Or in my opinion, it is these people who are causing this headache in the first place.
But is this the real issue? Or does the problem stretch further into the British culture?
Any young person you ask sees the dangers and risks associated with drinking, it being drilled into all young people during PSHE lessons.
But is the information going in? Or is it all too little, too late? Alcohol Awareness lessons don't begin until Year 9, at the age of 13.
France and Italy do not have the same anti-social behaviour problems caused by binge drinking that we seem to have Britain. These are two countries where licensing laws are far more relaxed and drinking for the sake of getting drunk is seen as strange behaviour.
Maybe we ought to copy the attitude to drinking in Europe- drinking with a family meal is common and the norm, but how can this be achieved when the family meal time itself is dying out in this country?
How are young people expected to find their way and know how to drink responsibly if they have never been trusted enough to do so? Or experienced what is considered responsible?
I think the behaviour we are seeing in this country is our own doing, caused by a lack of trust and missing family values. This is a problem which cannot be resolved without a tremendous change in attitude to drinking - not just more PSHE lessons!
If you are worried about a parent drinking, click
Test your alcohol knowledge here.
Do you agree with Sophia?
James G says:
Hi Sophia, I agree with you, I have seen the effects of alcohol abuse first hand as it killed my mother. I do think that education should start earlier in a child's life, and not only at school. I think it should be the parents that teach children about alcohol but I agree if the laws around drinking are relaxed, it would help improve the situation with young people drinking.
I agree with your point aboutFranceandItaly. I took part in an exchange with a group of young people inItaly. Pretty much all of us were under age for drinking. When we went there, the alcohol was freely available in the pub in the evening, and people wouldn't have more than one or two drinks.
But when they came to visit us, obviously they couldn't get any alcohol. One girl had a party near the end of the visit where alcohol was provided. All the Italians and a lot of us got 'completely hammered'.
But I don't know if adopting their laws would work, as the cultural attitude there is very different. A lot of people here are under the impression that to have a good night out you have to get drunk. So that would probably have to change too.