Western Cape Liquor Authority Embarks on Awareness Sessions for Teens
This week, the Western Cape Liquor Authority, in conjunction with the South African Police (SAPS), started visiting schools to speak to young people about the potential dangers of alcohol misuse. This intervention seeks to address the findings of a recent Medical Research Council school survey. Canvassing over 20 000 Grade 8 to 10 pupils in our province, this study found that 66% of the teenage respondents had used alcohol.
Of those who had consumed alcohol, more than one third reported current use, almost one quarter reported drinking in the previous week and almost one quarter reported binge drinking in the two weeks prior to the study.
"Amongst the children that had used alcohol, almost one third reported drinking before they were 13 years old. These findings reinforce the Western Cape Government’s stance that alcohol abuse is a major problem in our society that is ripping our communities apart. It further proves there is an urgent need for early interventions to prevent alcohol use among school learners, especially in light of alcohol being a gateway drug to more harmful substances."
Minister Winde said: "In response to the province’s alcohol abuse problem, inspectors from the Liquor Authority and SAPS started visiting schools this week to speak to young people about the effects of alcohol misuse, for instance, alcohol is linked to higher levels of crime and injuries. In addition to these obvious harms, alcohol misuse significantly impacts the school drop-out rate and results in weaker education outcomes, specifically in maths and science. This has a devastating impact on the economy: in many cases, problem drinkers often don’t find employment or aren’t productive in the workplace. This places a financial drain on family members and government social services. In short, alcohol abuse keeps poor people poor."
"During the sessions, the teenagers are advised that it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 years old to buy alcohol and it also an offence to mislead an outlet about their age. We appeal to primary care-givers to join us in our efforts in alerting children to the dangers of alcohol abuse. We also call on all adults, because they are role models, to set a good example by drinking responsibly in front of children."
Minister Winde added that the school awareness programme would be further developed in conjunction with the Western Cape Department of Education with the target of rolling it out to schools across the region over the next few months.
Spokesperson for Minister Winde
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 082 454 4365