City stands 4th in India in teenage alcoholism: Juvenile frankensteins

City stands 4th in India in teenage alcoholism: Juvenile frankensteins
Highlights

City stands 4th in India in teenage alcoholism: Juvenile frankensteins. Last week in Jubilee Hills a bunch of teenagers were out on the road late in the night. With adrenaline pumping due to an overdose of alcohol, the youngsters started zipping on their latest bikes and placed bets on races.

Teenagers drinking alcohol raises risk of experimentation with sex, drug, and other delinquent acts

Last week in Jubilee Hills a bunch of teenagers were out on the road late in the night. With adrenaline pumping due to an overdose of alcohol, the youngsters started zipping on their latest bikes and placed bets on races. The teenagers were nowhere close to being professional bikers and put both themselves and the public at peril. They were detained and let off after a strict warning was given to their parents.

Similarly, a young woman was walking to her office when she encountered a group of inebriated boys near ECIL X Roads.

“At first they seemed harmless, but their indecent behaviour which were punctuated with laughter and explicit comments made me shudder in fear. One of them approached brashly and asked would you like to be my friend?” recalled the woman.

Finding no other option and in a state of panic, she immediately dialled ‘100’ for help. She got solace after the cop attended the call and asked her for the address. Sensing trouble the teenagers slowly started retreating and sneaked by saying, “Akka lite teesko” (take it easy, sister). But she was still in shock following the incident.

Teens, binge drinking and ‘risky’ behaviour combine to create vulnerabilities. Wide availability of brands has contributed to alcoholism among teens. Getting the next drink for these teenagers has become more important than grades, sports or other activities.

A study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) indicated a 100 per cent increase in the number of teenagers drinking alcohol over the last 10 years. The study ranks Hyderabad fourth in the list of cities, after Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh, in the prevalence of teenagers consuming alcohol.

The study also points out inert laws with ‘sloppy’ enforcement, making it easy for unscrupulous retailers to sell to minors. It also suggested that by introducing ‘on-the-spot’ fines for selling alcohol to under-19s, requesting proof of age before serving liquor may curb the consumption of alcohol.

The study noted that the increased consumption of alcohol among teenagers was resulting in ‘risky behaviour’. This included sexting: sending inappropriate SMSes, posting inapt pictures online, eve-teasing and bike racing. Suicidal behaviour among adolescents was also associated with alcohol, but the cases were a few in number.

“Awareness among teens supported by a focussed campaign and implementation of the ‘no-access’ rule and by curbing the glorification of the habit of liquor consumption in movies will definitely curb this menace,” said Isidore Phillips, director, Divya Disha, an organisation which works for child rights.

He added that the crackdown on unscrupulous retailers, pubs, bars and the ban of wine shops within a kilometre of a school, would aid in reducing alcoholism among teenagers.

The police officials admitted that they could not completely stop underage drinking as they did not have the manpower to watch all the ‘watering holes.’

“We conduct surprise checks and book cases against the establishments who encourage it by not checking IDs instead of enforcing a complete ban on underage alcoholism. The police can’t be present everywhere. It is also the parents who have to keep tabs on their kids,” said a senior police official.

According to a city-based psychiatrist, “Teenagers especially in the age group of 15-19 are impulsive and are more prone to be adventurous and audacious compared to adults due to their 'underdeveloped' lower brain cells which makes the effects of alcohol more likely to be permanent. Alcohol enhances their cognitive functions and they commit crimes and other delinquent acts under its influence.”

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