Binge Drinking in Australia (especially Teenagers) By Kylie & Janelle, 2011
Alcohol • In everyday use, alcohol usually refers to beer, wine or spirits containing ethyl alcohol- a substance that can cause drunkenness, and changes in consciousness, mood and emotions. • Due to the different ways alcohol can affect people there is no amount of alcohol that can be said to be safe for everyone.
“lets get maggoted” “getting smashed” What is binge drinking? “off your face” “Binge drinking is defined as episodic excessive drinking”. Dangerous Vomiting Learned Behaviour Nausea Over-indulging to extreme levels Salvos:“Large amounts every now and then, and losing control” Suffering from alcohol poisoning Salvos: “More than 6 drinks in a row” Hangovers Excessive Unhealthy
Australian Culture • The 2003 Alcohol Summit report states that “drinking alcohol is intrinsic to Australian culture and the activity is seen as both normal, sociable and accepted.” • Alcohol is perceived to be liberating and empowering. • Getting drunk is a badge of being an adult and drinking is one of the significant “rights of passage into adulthood.”
Adolescent Culture Alcohol plays a significant part in adolescent culture- it is very much a group activity for younger age groups. There is some evidence to suggest that many underage drinkers set out to get drunk and get drunk quickly.
The prime intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time is Binge Drinking. • Binge drinking is more common in males during adolescent and young adulthood. • The more often a child or adolescent binge drinks, and the younger they are, the more likely they are that they will develop an alcohol use disorder including Alcoholism. • Gateway drug. A large number of adolescents who binge drink, also consume other psychotropic substances.
Moral Issues • 49% of Australian adults believe that underage drinking under parental supervision in the home is acceptable. • 1 in 5 teenagers report drinking weekly • The majority of young Australians who report drinking at home, also report parents as their primary suppliers of Alcohol. • Should you allow your 17 year old to drink alcohol??? (July 2011)
Australian Parents Supporting Underage Drinking www.mbf.com.au2009 Is it ethical to support underage drinking?
Short Term Harms of Binge Drinking • Young people when intoxicated are more likely to indulge in risky behaviour such as: • Swimming • Driving • Unsafe/Unwanted Sex • Verbal/Physical Abuse • Depression/Suicidal Behaviour • Disrupted Family Relationships • Delinquent Behaviour
Long Term Harms of Binge Drinking • Maturation of adolescent brain. Human Brain is still developing until the mid 20s. Disruption with a neurotoxin like Alcohol, may lead to learning difficulties, memory problems, reduced performance on attention based testing. • Alcohol Associated illnesses • Social Problems
Rudd supports raising drinking age JENNIFER MACEY: What about the argument though that raising the drinking age simply leads to more underground binge drinking?IAN WEBSTER: Well, I think that is right. That is the dilemma in our society. I think there are moral ethical arguments as to whether you should increase the drinking age. We expect young people to go to war and fight for us at the age of 18. We expect them to vote for us at the age of 18. So I think it is a very contested ethical, moral judgement which society would have to make despite the evidence one way or another and I personally think the evidence has yet to be sorted out.JENNIFER MACEY: At one of Sydney's most popular late night drinking spots reactions were mixed. VOX POP: Oh, I just think it is a joke. Like when I was 21 I was more mature, as mature at least as I am now.VOX POP 2: The young kids are going to get alcohol no matter what so if you raise it to 21 they are still going to drink.
Ethical Issue Reflection Is teenage binge drinking an ethical issue or is it simply part of Australian culture???
References NSW Alcohol Summit preliminary background paper April 2003 www.alcoholsummit.nsw.gov.au AM Rudd Supports Raising Drinking Age http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s2813946.htm Australian Bureau of Statistics: Alcoholism www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/4832.0.55.001/ MBF Fact Sheet www.mbf.com.au