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It has become apparent that binge drinking amongst our teens is becoming a big problem. The Government’s first reaction was to raise the tax on alcopop drinks which naturally caused some angst amongst the young drinkers as well as the venues supplying the drinks. Todays paper actually had the Australian Hotels Association say that evidence exists that the increased tax is causing young people to turn to drugs as the more expensive alcopops come inline with marijuana and the ecstasy pill. If this is true then it doesn’t say much for the mental capacity of our youth.
While the increased tax raises more revenue for our money hungry Government it does not solve the problem. The police are also proposing 3 am lockout to curb violence and drunkenness on our streets but the problem with both methods is that it targets the wankers as well as those who act responsibly.
I propose a plan that begins with a 6 month advertising campaign that will include TV, radio and the print media. It will also include the Education Department targeting students from primary to tertiary levels about the ills of binge drinking. Naturally all this will fall on deaf ears unless there is a consequence for their behaviour. The young of today are no different than those of the past as they seem to be born with a “bullet proof” mentality that no wrong can ever befall them.
I suggest that the majority of them would have high aspirations for their life with a good career in mind. Mo proposal is that the police patrol these problem areas picking up the young and disorderly. They will be taken to the local police station a processed and then forced to attend an anti-drink seminar which will reinforce the advertising campaign. On the first offense a strike will be recorded against their name. Once they have obtained three strikes they will be officially charged and Fined!
This is where the crux of the campaign comes in, as amongst all the related problems associated with drinking will be the the one that should have the greatest deterrent factor as it will affect their lives now and not in 20 years time when they may develop drink related disease or when the may kill someone through drink driving. They have to realize that there are legal consequences to having a charge recorded against their name. It will affect their future as many occupations are closed to those with a criminal record. These include those who are aspiring to become a engineer, dentist, doctor, lawyer, architect, child care, aged care, teacher or many other professions. There are also many other employers who will check to see if applicants have a criminal record before hiring them.
It can even affect them outside of Australia as counties such as the US can refuse to give them a visa if you have a criminal record! This has to be drummed down their throat so that they realize the consequence of their actions. Yes perhaps it is a bit draconian, but if we do not act now it will only get worse and pussy footing around just does not provide results.