TEEN drinking and substance abuse is less common in teenagers today than previous generations according to a new Deakin University and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute study.
The results showed the number of teenagers who had consumed alcohol fell from 69% to 45% between 1999 and 2015, which the authors attribute to stricter parental attitudes and law reforms reducing the availability of substances.
Campaspe police Inspector Geoff Owen still warns of the dangers or alcohol and other substances in our community.
“Alcohol is a major drug that affects criminality – and it’s still more prevalent than drugs such as ice, heroin and cannabis,” Inspector Owen said.
“We know alcohol affects road policing and is a major fuel for assaults, family violence and property thefts.
“Friday and Saturday are often peak times for these offences and this corresponds with people knocking off work and celebrating by drinking.”
However, Inspector Owen has seen a shift in criminality relating to alcohol in the area.
“We have certainly seen a decrease in antisocial alcohol-fuelled behaviour in Kyabram,” he said. ‘‘We believe this is due to proactive policing, increased engagement with licensees and a more visible police presence. We run regular liquor-licensing operations across town and underage drinking isn’t a prevalent offence.’’
The landscape of Australian drinking trends is evolving, with DrinkWise releasing their comparative 2007 to 2017 study on drinking habits. The not-for-profit organisation revealed that 20 per cent of Australians abstain from drinking — up from 11 per cent — and daily and weekly drinking trends have both lowered.
Deakin University Professor John Toumbourou credits parents as the fundamental reason behind the positive figures. “We can see that parents are taking on the advice from our national health guidelines,” Prof Toumborou said.
Principal of Kyabram P-12 College Stuart Bott acknowledges the role of health education for young people.
“The programs which we run inform students and try to cover every aspect of the student’s life rather than just the curriculum,” he said.
“There’s a greater focus on health and wellbeing of students in schools now and we have a program which helps educate students on the impact drugs and alcohol can have on their lives.”