Date PostedSeptember 4, 2013

Teens in Rehab Speak Out

One of the most problematic and also relevant issues relating to Responsible Service of Alcohol at the moment is its effect on the youth, minors in particular.

While the law is clear that alcohol should never be served to minors, consenting parents can make it possible for their kids to get alcohol. However even this is a touchy subject because many believe that even parents shouldn’t be allowed to provide alcohol to their kids because many parents themselves do not realise the damaging effect it can have on their health and safety.

I came across an article on Yahoo News site which looked into the cases of various teenagers who have been admitted into rehab and their journey.

This article was a sobering reminder of the human cost of ignoring RSA enforcement, rather than just thinking of it as a job or legal requirement of a job in a licenced venue. By understanding the real harm to teenagers, it makes it even more clear why RSA is so important and must be practiced by all staff of licenced venues.

The first teenager whose story is told was a mere 13 years old when he started drinking beer regularly, in fact more regularly than he went to school. This is his story according to the article on Yahoo News,

Every night was a party, every morning a headache, with life becoming a battle between feelings of helplessness and loneliness, and the welcome oblivion a bottle could bring.

In a different city, another teenager Jim* was drinking his way to prison, which was ironic because his stepfather worked as a guard there, and his mum was the jail’s alcohol and drug counsellor.

After his first drink at 14, his family saw him drift away – mostly on a sea of booze.

“I was drinking every single day, getting into fights, fighting with my family all the time,” he says.

“I was going through cars to get money, getting into buildings – and then I’d find someone who was 18 to buy it for me.”

Despite being too young to legally vote, or fight a war, or drive, Jim and George are already both in an alcohol treatment program – a small example of what an increasing array of experts say is a national epidemic.

Read the full article at:

Police, politicians and parents around the country have been calling for stricter controls on the sale of alcohol to minors and people helping to treat the problem are also urging for these controls to be implemented.

The article goes on to quote experts, such as a Sydney humanitarian who runs a refuge for young addicts, Matt Noffs who expressed concerns that alcohol is so widely marketed in Oz and ingrained in our society that it is difficult to overcome. It is such an intrinsic part of society that it is almost sneaky in its approach, targeting teenagers and children, according to Noffs in what he describes as “hypnosis”. That is why Aussies need a complete culture change in order to alter their attitudes towards drinking first.

A particular concern is that in our society a number of youth are suffering from depression and anxiety which makes the idea of alcohol very appealing to them as a means of escape, RSA staff should not facilitate this. The truth is thousands of young people are seeking help for alcohol abuse having started drinking way too early.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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