According to the executive director at a drug and alcohol recovery program, girls as young as 13 are undergoing rehab for alcohol addiction.
Patricia Lavater is the executive director of Esther Foundation and a former Australian of the Year Finalist whose organisation runs a drug and alcohol recovery program which she says has changed in the last five years. She says the people admitted to rehab centres have changed from girls in their twenties addicted to drugs to even younger girls with alcohol addiction. Some of these girls are as young as 13 years old.
According to an article on PerthNow.com.au which quoted Lavater, even primary school children are becoming the victim of alcohol abuse and girls in particular are at risk. Some girls with alcohol problems are just 13 years old but have already been drinking for years.
The article goes on to explain:
She said the issue had become so bad that primary school-aged children would soon have to be targeted by strategies promoting responsible drinking.
“The girls are getting younger, they are coming in at 13 or 14 and have been drinking for a couple of years already,” Ms Lavater said.
“I don’t find it shocking, I find it tragic; it mirrors where our society is heading. I don’t really understand why they think it’s getting better because we have parents ringing us every day with stories of their children drinking.
“Eventually we will need to start going out to primary schools if we want to prevent this.
The article went on to discuss the case of a girl who had her first taste of alcohol at the age of 6 which was given to her by an adult. The girl started drinking heavily by the age of 7 as a way of coping with incessant bullying. Her drinking also led to cannabis abuse and she would also finished an entire bottle of vodka on her own, an action dangerous even to adult’s health.
It is difficult to contemplate the damage this young girl’s body has suffered as a result of her substance use and abuse. It is hard to believe that children as young as this are being given alcohol by adults, at a time when they should be carefree and playing with toys, not drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
The article went on to explain some very alarming statistics:
Latest figures from the Health Department reveal a 42 per cent increase in 14-year-old girls hospitalised for alcohol-related causes, from 33 in 2008 to 47 in 2012.
Women aged 18 had a 57 per cent increase from 95 cases in 2008 to 149 in 2012.
Ms Lavater has joined a chorus of community voices calling on the Barnett Government to follow Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland by introducing secondary supply legislation to prevent children under 18 being served alcohol on private premises. She said children were being turned against their parents when they collected them from parties where alcohol was served and police were powerless to intervene.