Editorial: why is alcohol afforded more second chances than other drugs

HOW clever are our teens getting off the bottle.

Statistics are traditionally relegated to an echelon more dastardly than lies, and even higher than damned lies, but all trends are built on numbers.

But, survey says more teenagers are giving booze the swerve with 82 per cent of kids aged 12 to 17 completely abstaining from alcohol.

In 2004, this rate was apparently at 52.3 per cent.

And for the chaser, their first drink is coming at a later age.

Glasses have certainly been charged to lesser achievements.

In a country where more than three-quarters of the population enjoy a tipple, there’s no doubt there’s been more than enough tenuous reasons for a toast.

Which is pretty much the problem.

More than one-in-five Australians aged 14 and over reported being a victim of an alcohol-related incident in 2016.

But don’t worry about that, it’s just those damned statistics talking.

The news of Australia’s teens crowding on the wagon came with a caveat from a local drug and alcohol counsellor that he felt illicit drug use was rising among youngsters.

That statement was washed down with a chaser of drug use, at times, being normalised by inter-generational use.

A sobering thought.

Somehow, illicit drug use registers a bigger chill than the thought of a drink.

The first drink is usually had at 16, up nearly two years since previous surveys, which barely bats an eyelid in comparison.

The top three contributing factors on the nation’s burden of preventable disease are tobacco, high body mass and alcohol.

Welcoming the positive teen stats, the CEO of the Brewers Association said today’s drinkers “are more discerning” and better equipped regarding responsible drinking.

“Yet we must do more to tackle persistent misuse and anti-social behaviour,” he said.

So alcohol is proving to be destructive on a number of fronts in some serious ways.

Not to condemn all consumption, but it seems alcohol and its peccadilloes are afforded more leniency and second chances than other drugs in the way its use is viewed.

So if our teens are being more discerning and responsible regarding alcohol, as these damned statistics would have us believe, it’s certainly something to be applauded.


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