Is this a fashion or a passion? Whatever this is, it will be soon become a concern. Wake up!
Over the past few decades, millions of children and young people in our country have been affected by drug and alcohol consumption. Now, this problem is becoming so serious that it deserves our attention. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), about 30% of India’s population consumes alcohol regularly. The percentage of under-15 boys who have not had alcohol has gone down from 44% to 30% – and for girls it has decreased from 50% to 31%. This has been revealed by another study done by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In India, alcohol consumption is increasing in younger people, and it is becoming a major problem. Age restrictions for alcohol consumption are different in different states. The legal age-limit for drinking falls between 18 to 27 years in different states. However, it is normal for people to start drinking before the legal age. And the younger generation is getting attracted to this addiction rapidly.
However, after a certain period of time, the problem may not remain limited to alcohol only. Addiction can also lead young kids towards drugs and other intoxicants. There are numerous reasons for this – including stress, mental health problems, easy availability of alcohol, access to alcohol at home, lack of strict laws, changing mindsets and lifestyles of the society, films and television shows which often indirectly ‘promote’ drinking.
Young people generally start taking alcohol and other intoxicants mainly to get a ‘thrill’ out of it. But later, this often turns into a habit. At an age when children should focus on getting a good education and building a better future, they are getting attracted to intoxicants. Such a habit will have a lasting effect on their present and future lives. It can adversely affect family and society as well.
India is on its way to become the ‘youngest country’ in the world. Keeping this in mind, timely action can prevent our youth from getting addicted. Only then will our nation become a well-developed, healthy and strong, young India.
I will now mention the effects of alcoholism on the youth.
1. Alcohol consumption during teenage years can adversely affect the general, physical and mental development of kids. Rectifying this at such a tender age may require special intervention that can be significantly influence their mental development and thought processes.
2. The relationship between alcohol consumption, depression and even suicide is a pretty close one.
3. The addiction may even lead the young people to do bad things and be involved in unlawful activities.
4. People who drink at a younger age are more likely to become alcoholics, sooner rather than later.
5. Alcoholism can lead to critical and serious illnesses among the youth.
6. The adverse consequences of such a habit will also be reflected in the academic performances of the youth. This means that they will only limit their own future opportunities and growth.
7. It may cause physical and mental problems at an early age (heart disorders, depression), which, in turn, may again effect their education, and the way they spend their time & money.
8. Drinking among young people will lead them to be more irresponsible towards their families and society. Driving in an intoxicated condition also lead to severe accidents, which often claim innocent lives.
9. Excessive addiction to alcohol can result in financial problems, and even cause domestic violence in families.
10. Such an addiction can also be harmful to the community as a whole.
This serious concern needs to be addressed in a timely fashion by all of us. Primarily, parents need to pay attention to their children. For this, parents must avoid drinking at home in the presence of their children. They should also keep the environment at home pleasant and friendly. They can also inculcate a fondness among children towards their homes and families – to keep them away from bad habits.
Teachers, siblings and students also need to watch out for addicts and help them get rid of their addiction. We also need to consciously educate young kids about the harmful nature of intoxicants. The interactions between parents, children, teachers and their friend-circle need to be more friendly and open to keep communication channels open and to ensure a free flow of information. The kids need to be nurtured with good thoughts and ideologies which will inspire them to choose a better life.
Today’s generation is blessed with an ocean of knowledge available on internet. All sort of information is available on their fingertips. You cannot have any restrictions on it. However, if not used wisely, it can lead them to wander aimlessly. Therefore, the information needs to be disseminated in such a manner that they can recognise the difference between good and bad.
The government also need to look to revisit the inadequate laws that restrict the people from consuming the intoxicants. There should be restrictions on selling liquor near collages, schools and hospitals. The local authorities need to be alert and respond proactively to minimise the illegal activities for the betterment of society.
The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.