Teenagers urged to celebrate responsibly

From The Irish Times


Junior Certificate students are being advised to celebrate responsibly when their examination results are published tomorrow.

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), a lobby group campaigning on alcohol-related issues, has urged parents to make a  “who, what, where, when, how ” plan with their teenagers before they go out tomorrow evening.

 “It is a time of well deserved celebration, ” said Fiona Ryan, director of AAI.

 “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, ” she said.

 “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. ”

A recent survey by the European School Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) found that Irish teenagers are more likely to binge drink than their European counterparts.

The survey also found that a quarter of Irish 15 and 16-year-olds have purchased alcohol from an off-licence or supermarket while 37 per cent have been served in a pub or nightclub.

 “There is a real and immediate obligation on alcohol retailers, pubs, nightclubs, supermarkets and off-licences to ensure that they are not selling alcohol to underage drinkers, ” said Ms Ryan.

The Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC) said there is always an increase in calls to their national 24-hour helpline on the days when the Leaving and Junior Cert exam results are released.

Ellen O ’Malley Dunlop, chief executive of the DRCC, advised young people to look out for each other, stay with a group of trusted friends, and not to leave drinks unattended.

The Rape Crisis Centre national helpline is 1800-778888.