As alcohol awareness week began, 19 to 25 November, it is alleged that it is much cheaper for underage to get drunk than to go to the cinema.

It has been said that around 63% of 16 to 24 years old believe that cheap alcohol promotions is one of the methods that encourage excessive drinking and a further 61% say that adverts that associate alcohol with having fun, influences expectation of being drunk or drinking.

According to research and information from the media, alcohol is more affordable now than in the eighties and this increases the availability of cheap alcohol.  If young people find it cheaper to buy alcohol than to purchase a cinema ticket, then it stands to reason that those that are inclined to drink will prefer to buy the alcohol rather than the cinema ticket.

There is a major concern that the government needs to take further actions if we are to stem the flow of underage drinking and prevent the next generation of young people becoming alcoholic.

I find it amazing that apart from the UK there are only three other countries with higher underage drinkers which is Estonia, Malta, and the Isle of man.  As a society we have an obligation to put in place effective policies and procedures that curtail our young people from undertaking excessive drinking.

There are indications that the government is willing to introduce a minimum unit price, they have already introduced early morning restrictions  order to curb the sale of alcohol and late night levy on businesses in order that they contribute to the cost of policing anti-social behaviour that stems from alcohol consumption.

It is understandable that society looks to the government and the advertiser to be responsible in how they regulate and portray alcohol consumption, but there is another group that should have the same responsibility, in fact even more that the government and advertiser, and that is parents.

I would imagine that most underage drinkers have at least one parent and I cannot believe that the moral fabric of our society have deteriorated that much that as parents we no longer monitor what our teenage children are up to.  Granted, I would be naive to think that it is not much more difficult, but that is no excuse for parents to take a back seat when they are being warned of the problem with underage drinking.

If we are ever going to defeat or curtail underage drinking then it must be a concerted effort by the parent, government, advertiser and retailers.  This is not a problem that can be solved by any one group, it must be a joint venture if we are to prevent future alcoholics.

By Sandrea: My Opinion