October 3, 2012 by preventyouthdrugabuse
Both drugs and alcohol can potentially be harmful to all people, not just youth. Drugs are illegal, alcohol is legal, yet both drugs and alcohol are a problem area with youth. I think the legalities of it all create a difference in the way each issue is approached.
Let’s briefly look at alcohol. In place are Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) laws, which aim to responsible serve alcohol, preventing the sale of alcohol (directly or indirectly) to under age people and the sale of alcohol to intoxicated people. Now whilst minors still access alcohol, it is an active measure that is put in place to put barriers up and does make it more difficult. Working in a bottle shop myself, I take these laws very seriously, because not abiding can have serious consequences. Furthermore, I have seen advertisements on the television and in my work about an organisation called Drinkwise which promotes responsible drinking and publicly raises awareness of the issues regarding under age drinking. Whilst youth alcohol use is still an issue, I think measures such as RSA Laws and campaigns such as Drinkwise are having an impact by informing people who can potentially be most influential to youth in the stages of adolescence where alcohol use can be most harmful.
Due to the criminalisation of drugs, promoting awareness of drug related issues doesn’t seem as prevalent. It is much less common to see ads on the television and health warnings about the risks of drug use – especially amongst youth. We know that drugs are a problem and that they exist, yet we cannot have Responsible Service of Drugs because drug trades and use is done out of the public eye.
This may be a bold statement, but maybe if certain illicit drugs were actually legalised, and RATIONALLY REGULATED, maybe the problem of drug abuse can be slowly diminished. That way distribution, production and youth can be controlled and tracked. That’s all I will say for now on, following posts will go expand and go into detail on this idea of Regulation – but what I really wanted to stress was the idea that we have so many measures in place to reduce underage drinking because of the harm it can bring to youth, but there is nothing in place to actively try and prevent youth drug abuse apart from criminalising drugs – which is clearly not working!