As the academic year winds down, the pressure of exams begins to dissipate, and the anticipation of the holiday season starts to emerge. Alongside this excitement, there may be invitations to enjoy good times, occasionally involving underage drinking.
Aware.org, a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible drinking and reducing alcohol harm, is calling for vigilance against underage drinking during the upcoming year-end celebrations.
Recognising the urge among scholars to mark the end of exams and the school year with alcohol, Aware.org calls on all of society to work together to ensure that that the joy of celebration is not overshadowed by the potential risks and consequences of underage drinking.
“We know that many young people may feel pressured to experiment with alcohol, especially after what many have experienced as a stressful year,” said Carmen Mohapi, MD of Aware.org. “But we want to remind them that underage drinking is not only illegal but more importantly can have serious negative effects on their bodies and lives. It can also place their future prospects in jeopardy.”
While understanding the youth's desire to unwind and enjoy themselves, Aware.org emphasises two critical reasons why experimenting with alcohol should be avoided:
- It causes serious harm: alcohol consumption at a young age can have severe physical and psychological consequences. It can impair judgment, and result in accidents and injuries that could be avoided with responsible choices.
- It's illegal: underage drinking is against the law. Violating this law can lead to legal consequences and affect a young person's future.
Aware.org is calling on youth leaders, families and communities, schools, recreational organisations to work together to help young people keep themselves safe during this time.
“We need to be attentive to underage drinking and offer young people safe and healthy alternatives to celebrate,” said Mohapi. “We also need to have honest conversations with them about the risks of alcohol consumption, especially at a young age.”
We urge parents, caregivers and educators to stay involved, be aware of the young people’s plans and whereabouts, and be alert to potential harm. By offering support, adults can empower young individuals to make responsible choices and offer opportunities for safe fun. This collaborative effort is crucial for creating a nurturing and secure environment.
We encourage young individuals to lead by example and showcase that responsible celebrations can be just as enjoyable, if not more so, without the need for alcohol. By making informed choices, young people can create positive memories and set the tone for a safe and fulfilling year end celebrations for themselves and their peers.
“By avoiding alcohol-related incidents, whether they take the form of something as presumably minor as stumbling while walking, or as major as engaging in unsafe sexual conduct, we can ensure that our youth have the opportunity to create happy memories, cherish their achievements and embrace the exciting journey ahead. What might seem minor in one moment can turn major quickly,” explains Mohapi.
Aware.org remains committed to raising awareness about the risks associated with alcohol consumption among underage individuals and will continue to work towards a safer, healthier and more responsible society.
In conclusion, as we approach the year-end celebrations, it's pivotal to acknowledge the allure of festivities often intertwined with underage drinking. Aware.org's impassioned plea resonates with the necessity for vigilance, collaboration, and proactive engagement from communities, parents, educators, and young individuals themselves.
The imperative lies in fostering a culture of responsibility and providing safe alternatives to celebrate achievements. By steering clear of underage drinking, our youth can safeguard their well-being, protect their futures, and craft meaningful, joyful memories. Let's unite in ensuring that these celebrations remain moments of genuine merriment, devoid of the perils associated with underage alcohol consumption.
Aware.org's enduring commitment to awareness, education, and advocacy stands as a beacon of hope in steering our society towards a safer, healthier future. Together, let's champion responsible choices, empower our youth, and create a nurturing environment where celebrations are synonymous with safety, joy, and positivity.