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Cardinia Shire parents to take a stand against teen alcohol abuse

Published: 20 March 2018

Cardinia Shire parents are being urged to make a personal pledge to encourage their teenagers to adopt sensible drinking habits as part of a new initiative to combat drug and alcohol abuse.

The Cardinia Alcohol and Other Drugs Action Group, together with the Cardinia Shire Council, has established a website where parents can make a pledge and receive practical tips on how to discuss the responsible use of alcohol with their teen.

The Cardinia Pledge Project is supported by the Victorian Government and will complement the Smart Generation Program, currently operating in local schools.

The action group hopes joining forces to make a pledge will empower parents to start the conversation with their teenager about responsible alcohol use.

A 2015 report into alcohol and substance abuse within Cardinia Shire found that parents were the main supplier of alcohol to students.

Action group spokesperson David Lane says parents have a crucial role to play in encouraging a responsible approach to alcohol.

“Alcohol is responsible for one third of deaths and injuries for under 18s. It harms young brains and may lead to long-term health issues. The good news is the research also shows parents can have a powerful voice in combatting negative peer group pressure,” says Mr. Lane.

Mr. Lane says there are a few key things parents can do, to combat negative peer group pressure around drinking:

  • Maintain a positive relationship with your children and talk about responsible alcohol use.
  • Help them work out how to refuse a drink – e.g. ‘No thanks, I’m good’, ‘No thanks, I’ve got sport tomorrow’.
  • Encourage fun activities that do not involve alcohol.

A 2015 Communities that Care report found that in Cardinia Shire:

  • The prevalence of substance use, anti-social behaviour and depressive symptoms is progressively higher from Year 6 to Year 10.
  • Adolescent alcohol use is common:
    • Lifetime alcohol use is high in each year level – Year 6 (22%), Year 8 (36%), and Year 10 (52%).
    • Recent alcohol use (past 30 days) is reported by 29 per cent of Year 10 students.
    • Binge drinking in the last two weeks is reported by two per cent of students in Year 6, six per cent in Year 8, and almost one fifth of Year 10 students (19%).
  • The main supplier of alcohol to students is parents – Year 6 (60%), Year 8 (58%), and Year 10 (36%).

Parents can take the pledge or receive information about how to discuss alcohol use with their teenager at www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/pledge