‘No place for alcohol’ at Junior Cert parties

Parents should talk openly to teenagers about the dangers of underage drinking ahead of tomorrow’s Junior Certificate results, alcohol awareness agencies are advising.

Drinkaware and Alcohol Action Ireland are advising parents that alcohol should play no part in post-exam celebrations.

“These results are a fantastic achievement and of course, should be celebrated. However we are talking about young people who are about 15 years old. This is simply too young to be drinking alcohol and the harms associated with drinking from such a young age cannot be underestimated,” said Drinkaware CEO, Yvonne Rossiter.

By the age of 15, teenagers have experienced an initiation into drinking culture, according to a recent report from Alcohol Action Ireland.

“Far from being a rite of passage, drinking alcohol may well serve to delay the development of vital coping, personal and social skills; project young people into risky situations, and lay the ground-work for future physical and mental health difficulties,” said head of communications and advocacy with Alcohol Action Ireland, Conor Cullen.

Both Drinkaware and Alcohol Action Ireland advise parents to talk openly with their children about their plans for celebrating and find out who they are celebrating with; if alcohol will be available; and how they will travel home.

Drinkaware asks that parents consider alternatives to a night out, such as hosting an alcohol-free party in their home. Experts also recommend encouraging teenagers to call home in the event of an emergency.

“They need to know that their safety is your number one priority and that they are to contact you immediately if they are in trouble,” says Mr Cullen.

Drinkaware has developed a parents’ hub available at drinkaware.ie/parent, with information, advice, and resources for initiating conversations about alcohol between parents and young people.

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