Junior Cert students urged to stay safe

From IrishHealth.com

[Posted: Wed 12/09/2012 by Gillian Tsoi  www.irishhealth.com]

Junior Certificate students and their parents are being urged to make a  ‘who, what, where, when, how plan’ in the run up to Wednesday night’s celebrations.

As well as warning students of the dangers of excessive drinking, Alcohol Action Ireland (the national charity for alcohol-related issues) has said that there is an onus on alcohol retailers not to sell drink to under-age teens.

The charity’s director, Fiona Ryan, said: “We would ask parents and teens to sit down together and make a plan for celebrations that includes:

 · Who are you celebrating with
 · What are you going to be doing
 · Where is it going to be happening
 · When are you planning on arriving and leaving
 · How are you getting there and back

“It is a time of well deserved celebration. For some teenagers their celebration plans will involve alcohol – some will feel that they have to drink to celebrate even though they may not want to and others will feel even pressured to do so. It is important to remind teenagers that  ‘not everybody is doing it’ and support teenagers not to drink; half of teenagers do drink regularly but half don’t,” said Ms Ryan.

“At the same time we need to be very aware that a teenager who does drink may end up in situations where he or she feels uncomfortable or scared as a result of their own or someone else’s drinking. Teenagers need to know as parents that while you may not be happy with the fact they have been drinking, their safety is your priority and that they are to contact you if they are in trouble.”

According to Alcohol Action, teenagers report having no problems accessing alcohol: “We know from what teenagers tell us themselves that the vast majority, 84%, have no problem getting access to alcohol,” said Ms Ryan.

“Cheap widely available alcohol where a young person can get drunk for  €10 is not helping the situation either and we know that young people are highly aware of priced-based special promotions.

“A quarter of 15 and 16-year-olds have purchased alcohol from an off-license or supermarket while 37% have been served in a pub or nightclub. There is a real and immediate obligation on alcohol retailers – pubs, nightclubs, supermarkets and off-licenses to ensure that they are not selling alcohol to underage drinkers,” said Ms Ryan.