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Alcohol and Teenagers
 Most New Zealanders start drinking during their teenage years. By the time they are 20 years old only five per cent of people will not drink alcohol.

 Parents have a crucial influence on the drinking behaviour of their children. Most children taste alcohol at home before the age of 11. As they get older children tend to copy the drinking behaviour of their parents. Parents should be aware of their own habits and make any necessary changes. The old maxim, “Do as I say, not what I do” won’t work.
 Regular alcohol use in children and young people affects short-term memory and can interfere with their physical, intellectual and emotional development.
 Most teenagers say the reason they drink is in order to have a good time with their friends. Heavier drinking teenagers say they do it to relieve boredom, escape problems, anger and frustration.
 Young people often drink carelessly, irresponsibly and more heavily than other age groups. They don’t control their drinking and don’t think about the consequences of it. At weekends they often get quite drunk and may even be arrested. They may be:
 Unable to stop themselves drinking once they've started.
 Gulp or drink alcohol very quickly.
 Go through periods of not drinking then start again.
 Using alcohol to boost social confidence.
 Unwilling to discuss their drinking.
Those who develop drinking problems generally have some of the following things in common:
1 The take their first drinks earlier in life.
2 They have a poor relationship with their parents.
3 They are strongly influenced by their friends who also drink heavily.
4 The parents are heavy drinkers.
5 They are aggressive, hyperactive, antisocial children who do poorly at school.


For some young people an unwanted pregnancy or sexual disease may be the aftermath of too much booze.
 Alcohol consumption is linked to New Zealand's high rate of unplanned adolescent pregnancies - the second highest in the developed world.
 Alcohol is also linked to the high spread of sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents.

Reducing or stopping drinking will help a person:
Stay healthier and feel more energetic
Maintain or increase physical fitness
Improve relationships and family life
Have more money to spend on other things
Drive safely
Never feel hung over or “liverish”
Gain improved concentration and memory

Reproduced with the kind permission of the New Zealand Police Association

Back to Alcohol Abuse Index

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