Students take fight against alcohol to new level


18-April-2013

Some of the children during the seminar. Many have now taken fight against alcohol to new level

“But parents should heed Education Minister Macsuzy Mondon’s advice not to endanger the very children whom they earlier looked after so well,” they said.
“Lest we forget, from the time our children are born, we try to anticipate all the ways they could get hurt or become sick, and we take action to reduce the risk of that happening,” said Mrs Mondon.

“We take them for immunisation against common childhood illnesses. We teach them to eat balanced meals. We teach them to cross the street safely and to brush their teeth properly. In doing this over the years, we reduce their risk of illnesses and injuries.

“But as our children grow older, they are faced with new and more complex issues such as sexuality, alcohol and drugs. The easy availability, widespread acceptability, and extensive promotion of alcoholic beverages within our society make alcohol the most widely used and abused substance in this country,” said Mrs Mondon. 

She said youth who use alcohol at a younger age are more likely to use alcohol heavily and to experience alcohol-related problems that would affect their relationships with family and friends by late adolescence.

“They are also more likely to abuse other drugs and to get in trouble with the law due to criminal behaviour, prostitution. Many cases of teenage pregnancy are associated with alcohol and drug abuse.

“Parents have a fundamental duty to instill good values and be good role models for their children. So, what do parents do when their children start drinking alcohol at a young age? We know that very often children begin to consume alcohol in their own home with the knowledge of their parents. To succeed in this battle we need parents on board. More importantly, we need parents to be good role models and to take responsibility for their children’s health throughout their adolescence and beyond.”

She said schools also have a critical role to play in educating the youth and encouraging self-discipline.  “Personal and social education is all about teaching values, among other important attributes, but are our teachers really teaching the subject the way they are supposed to, as required by the curriculum?  “We need to evaluate our own practices and make the necessary changes to ensure that our education system also delivers on its duty towards the social, emotional and spiritual education of our students.” She said children who are brought up to value individual responsibility and self-discipline and to have a clear sense of right and wrong are less likely to try alcohol or any other drugs.

“Alcohol abuse is scourging our society and robbing us of our precious resources – our youth. To combat underage drinking most effectively, the entire community must be involved. Parents, schools, students, law enforcement authorities, religious groups, social services agencies, non-governmental organisations and the media.

“We all have a role to play and must transmit a single, consistent message that alcohol use by minors is wrong, dangerous and it will not be tolerated
She told the students alcohol can do many things to them:

“Alcohol can make you throw up. Alcohol can make you pass out… but this is nothing compared to the long term havoc that alcohol can cause to your health and your life. If you value your education and if you want to make it in life, when you are face to face with alcohol, simply refuse it. Alcohol is a lethal drug.”

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