Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

DAVE Bonner (Bar wel­come, Gazette,

April, 14) pre­dicts that there will be no is­sue in hav­ing a bar op­po­site Wes­ley Col­lege. I have a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. Chil­dren’s brains have been shown to con­tinue de­vel­op­ing even af­ter they turn 18, mak­ing them vul­ner­a­ble to al­co­hol­re­lated harms. Th­ese harms can man­i­fest as im­me­di­ate prob­lems, which are more vis­i­ble, but also as long-term prob­lems that res­onate into adult­hood.

Even “low-risk” con­sump­tion in ado­les­cents has been shown to have ad­verse long-term con­se­quences that may only sur­face af­ter leav­ing school.

Many schools, in­clud­ing Wes­ley, un­der­take ex­cel­lent pro­grams to ed­u­cate their stu­dents on the pit­falls of al­co­hol, but this does not ren­der stu­dents im­mune from al­co­hol-re­lated prob­lems in­clud­ing un­der-aged drink­ing.

This is be­cause ed­u­ca­tion is but one fac­tor. The cul­ture in which stu­dents grow up has a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact.

Tan­gi­ble in­flu­ences in­clude the phys­i­cal avail­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of al­co­hol, but there are equally pow­er­ful in­tan­gi­ble so­cial forces such as habits, cus­toms and norms.

For some, the re­lent­less mod­el­ling of al­co­hol con­sump­tion will es­tab­lish norms that lead to poor de­ci­sions.

As a res­i­dent of South Perth, I’m sure there’s a bet­ter lo­ca­tion for Hop­scotch that will still be con­ve­nient for Mr Bonner. ANN CHOONG, South Perth.

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