Al­co­hol has to be a con­ver­sa­tion starter

The Compass - - OPINION - Ni­cholas Mercer is a re­porter/pho­tog­ra­pher with The Com­pass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cb­n­com­pass.ca.

Imag­ine watch­ing your 15-year-old son walk­ing out the door on a Fri­day evening head­ing to a house party with friends.

Now, imag­ine re­ceiv­ing a call in the early morn­ing hours the next day that tells you he has been rushed to hos­pi­tal after pass­ing out at the party. Later, he will be pro­nounced dead.

Those thoughts might be run­ning through the minds of the par­ents of a teen boy from Con­cep­tion Bay South who re­cently passed away at the Janeway Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in St. John’s. By all ac­counts, the youth was an avid soft­ball player and a ter­rific ath­lete all to­gether. So, what hap­pened? Although au­thor­i­ties have not con­firmed cause of death, sources told CBC News last week the youth had quite a bit to drink at a party that night.

If a lco­hol con­sump­tion did in­deed play a fac­tor in the teen’s death, that is a heart­break­ing way to go for a young per­son with a lot to look for­ward to in life.

Some­times, it takes a tragic event to start ask­ing tough ques­tions. In this case, those ques­tions should re­volve around teens and the dan­gers of binge drink­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the Pub­lic Health Agency of Canada, con­sum­ing five or more drinks dur­ing a sin­gle sit­ting is con­sid­ered binge drink­ing. To some, that might not seem like a lot, but for the right per­son it can be.

Ev­i­dence of binge drink­ing among youth can be found through var­i­ous so­cial me­dia out­lets.

There are pic­tures of liquor bot­tles, emp­tied by ei­ther them­selves or their friends. You might come across images of teens passed out and other de­pic­tions of drunk­en­ness. The In­ter­net, good or bad, has it all doc­u­mented for your pe­rus­ing.

Al­co­hol is like any other drug and it should be treated as such. We al­ways push par­ents to speak with their chil­dren about the dan­gers of drugs, but how of­ten did you hear about al­co­hol poi­son­ing grow­ing up?

Not a whole lot. Rarely in that con­ver­sa­tion is al­co­hol in­cluded. It is about time that it should be. Un­for­tu­nately, we’ve never been good for heed­ing our own ad­vice. For as many cam­paigns as there are about stop­ping driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence, there are just as many yearly ar­rests for it.

The same goes for telling peo­ple to slow down in in­clement weather. We nod our heads in agree­ment and then won­der what hap­pened after go­ing off the road dur­ing a snow­storm. It is not right; it is just the way it is. Sure, get­ting drunk a cou­ple of nights a week­end looks like fun now, but there are dan­gers in that. Get­ting drunk isn’t just drink­ing more than you should, pass­ing out and then wak­ing up the next morn­ing with a bad hang­over.

There can be con­se­quences. Some of them are much worse than a headache.

We have to do a bet­ter job of in­form­ing our chil­dren about the dan­gers of ex­ces­sive drink­ing.

Some­times, it takes a tragic event to start ask­ing tough ques­tions. In this case, those ques­tions should re­volve

around teens and the dan­gers of binge drink­ing.

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