Friday, 16 May 2008

Unsafe corporations, unsafe sex, drugs, binge drinking 'normal' for teens: study

Researchers say the tax on alcopops will do little to curb binge drinking which is seen as 'normal' (Get Images)

A university study has found binge drinking is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to teenage risk-taking behaviour.

Education researchers at the University of Tasmania surveyed 1,000 parents and 1,000 high school students over five years about their perception of risky behaviours.

Thirteen per cent of students surveyed said they got "blind drunk" regularly while 43 per cent said they did so occasionally.

Education researcher, Professor Joan Abbott-Chapman, says she was surprised to find that many young people do not regard binge drinking as high-risk.

"Teenagers seem to think that normal teenage behaviour includes drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and to a certain degree smoking marijuana and also to a lesser extent unsafe sex," she said.

Professor Abbott-Chapman says parental involvement in setting standards can reduce teenage risk-taking behaviour.

"And it's the teenagers who rely only on peer groups for support or feel isolated and have no one to turn to these are the ones that tend to drink more and we also found that school engagement was also involved," she said.

Alcopop tax little use [to corporations]

The Federal Government's tax on so called 'alcopops' is likely to have only a minimal impact on teenage binge drinking according the researchers [from the business association?]

Taxes on pre-mixed alcoholic drinks have increased by around 70 per cent, making them to $1.30 more expensive, in a bid to curb binge drinking.

Professor Abbott-Chapman says more needs to be done to address the problem.

"The effects are likely to be marginal unless they are linked to a widespread range of community and family programs which tackle some of the problems of social and educational engagement or disengagement rather," she said.

Updaedt 350:pm (AEST)

Greens want alco-pops tax revenue spent on alcohol education

Greens leader Bob Brown says his party will not be inclined to support the Government's increased tax on pre-mixed drinks unless the money is put aside to combat alcohol abuse.

The Coalition says it will block the legislation to approve the 70 per cent tax increase, which is expected to give the government $3 billion in revenue.

Senator Brown says the Greens do support the tax and believe it will reduce consumption of so-called alco-pops.

But he says the revenue raised must be spent on education and health programs.

"We're not inclined to support this legislation unless there's a program for re-mediating the impact of alcohol abuse goes with it, in other words unless a sizeable part of this money goes to tackling the big problem of alcohol abuse in our communities" he said.


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