Rising Consumption Of Alcohol Amongst Teenagers - ASOCHAM

New Delhi, Oct 18, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio / pressreleasepoint) Alcohol intake in teenagers between ages of 15 to 19, especially among metropolitan has increased due to more absent parents, easy money and rising rates of stress and depression among teenagers, following westernization, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey conducted under its ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation (ASDF).

Reasons for rising liquor consumption among school students include easy money and availability of imported brands, absent parents and more spending power are some of the major reasons that contribute to the high consumption of alcohol.

In a survey, 45% of 12th graders in metropolitan consume alcohol excessively, at least five to six times in a month. Its results indicate an almost 100% increase in teenage drinking in the last 10 years.

The survey in which more than 2,000 teenagers of age group of 15 to 19 conducted, the most of say they initially took to drinking to be at par with their peer groups. But there are many others who say they resorted to alcohol as they feel that the intoxicating effect of the drink sways them away from the tensions of day-to-day life.

Major cities in which respondents were interviewed by ASDF include Mumbai, GOA, Cochin, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun and interestingly it was observed that consumption of liquor is more in vogue is in Delhi-NCR, Mumbai followed by Chandigarh and Hyderabad. It is not as significant in cooler cities like Indore, Patna , Dehradun and Cochin.

More than 32% of teens who admitted drinking said they drink when they are upset; 18% said they drink alone; 15% said they drink when they are bored; and 46% said they drink to "get high."

The survey also highlighted that each year, students spend 3,500-4,500 Rs. on alcohol, more than they spend on soft drinks, tea, milk, juice, coffee, movie tickets or books combined.

The survey also indicates that 70% of teens consume alcohol on the occasion of farewell, New Year, Christmas, valentine day, birthday’s and some other occasion.

Approximately one-third of all teenagers have their first alcoholic drink (more than a few sips) before entering college. Girls are starting to drink at younger ages than ever before, only 40% of girls reported having their first drink between the ages of 15 to 17.

Nearly 16% teenagers report beginning to drink alcohol before age 15. This is especially troubling for those who initiate alcohol use early in life are at increased risk of becoming problem drinkers. Nearly half of teenagers drink alcohol and more than 1 in 10 binge drink (consume five or more drinks on the same occasion).

In response to a survey conducted between July to September, one in five teenagers (65%) said they have tried alcohol (20% said they have not), and about 3 in 10 (45%) said they have used Fruit-flavored alcoholic beverages (12% said they have not).

Most teenagers view drinking as a fun pastime, one that replaces lack of after school activities. Unfortunately, teenagers often don't see the link between their actions today and the consequences tomorrow.

Teenage boys are much more likely than teenage girls to say they have tried alcohol. Alcohol use is also greater among older teens than younger teens (46% vs. 12%). Fruit-flavored alcoholic beverages are particularly appealing to girls who often do not like the taste of alcohol.

Statistical data projects that more and more young Indians are resorting to alcohol these days due to the growing liberated society, easy spending power and wide availability of brands to choose from. That look so bad the fact is that more and more people especially the youngsters of both the sexes are taking to alcohol these days, , said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.

Usage of alcohol has also resulted in deliberate self-harm, high-risk sexual behaviour, HIV infection, tuberculosis, oesophageal cancer, liver disease, duodenal ulcer and many more.

Other consequences of drinking for teenagers can include academic problems, menstrual problems, poor overall health, mental health problems, accidents, as well as the development of dependence on alcohol or other drugs. Other consequences may include suicide, violence etc.

Family history of substance abuse, prenatal exposure to alcohol, poor parent-child relationships and inadequate parent-child communication, conduct disorders, rebelliousness, depression, anxiety, academic problems, positive attitudes about alcohol, stress and poor coping skills all contribute to drink alcohol, disclosed the survey.

Chambers also agree that advertising exerts an influence on youth drinking patterns. Alcohol advertising appeals to teenagers by making drinking (men and women who drink) appear fun and sexy.

Low pricing, a lack of standardized proof of age schemes and poor enforcement makes it easy for unscrupulous retailers to sell to underage kids, said Mr. Rawat.

By introducing on-the-spot fines for selling drink to under-19s, proof of age before purchasing, may reduce the consumption of alcohol at an early age.

The alcohol industry, just like the tobacco industry, knows that if you want a lifetime heavy drinker, the best way is to start them early. Using alcohol at a young age has negative health effects. While some teens experiment and stop, or continue to use occasionally, without significant problems.  Others will develop a dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and possibly others. It is difficult to know which teens will experiment and stop and which will develop serious problems, indicates the survey.

Parents can prevent their children from using alcohol by talking to them about alcohol, open communication, role modeling, responsible behavior, and recognizing if problems are developing. 45% of the teens said that their parents do not know where they go in their spare time, and do not try to impose any kind of restrictions.

Teenagers have more money than in the past, and a greater choice of establishments in which to drink. Measures have also increased in size, reveals the ASSOCHAM survey.

- pressreleasepoint