On Wednesday the 5 October the Victorian Government announced the introduction of a new alcohol supply law. From 1 November 2011 it will be against the law to serve alcohol in a private home to anyone under 18, unless their parents or guardians have given permission.
This legislation is currently in place in other States across the country, including Qld, NSW and TAS and there are moves to introduce similar legislation in South Australia in the near future.
It will be up to parents to embrace this opportunity to control exposure of their underage teenagers to alcohol and proactively manage when, where and how it should be consumed, if at all.
As a parent, talking to your teen about alcohol and setting the boundaries and expectations to keep them safe can be a daunting task. DrinkWise Australia aims to empower parents to make informed decisions and has been promoting the Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix Message for some time. This campaign provides emerging evidence that alcohol can disrupt teenage brain development. DrinkWise encourages parents to delay the introduction of alcohol to their teenagers and provides practical strategies and tips to support parents.
This legislative change is supported with an education campaign which is consistent with the DrinkWise parenting tips that suggest parents should discuss alcohol with their children, clarify their expectations and engage with the parents of their children’s friends to develop a common position on drinking alcohol so that kids are hearing one strong and united voice.
To truly achieve cultural change and maintain the momentum that appears to be building with less underage teenagers drinking (according to the AIHW National Drug Strategy Household Report 2010) it will take a whole of community approach. We all have a role to play in changing our social norms, so that drinking too young and too much is undesirable.
Cath Peachey CEO, DrinkWise Australia