Showing posts from July, 2013

Alcohol, young women and breast cancer

I'm a firm believer that if you want to get messages across to young people they must be credible and resonate with them in some way. If you start talking about risks that aren't important to them at their time of life, it's unlikely that they will take notice of them. What is the point of talking about drink driving with 15 year olds? They've got a while to go until they're driving themselves and realistically, as much as many of them can't wait to get behind the wheel of a car, trying to give them messages about driving safely is just not going to work until they are just about to drive or have just started driving. As much as I think it is important to talk about the impact of alcohol on the brain and the liver to young people - you really have to pick the right time. Too early, and honestly, most of them couldn't care less. Potential liver damage is frightening (and very real, particularly for young women) but it's an alien concept for many and

Alcohol and vomiting

Most people have vomited at least once in their lives. In fact, many people have a great vomit story – particularly relating to their alcohol consumption! Though unpleasant, vomiting can be the body's way of protecting itself, trying to get rid of harmful toxins. Alcohol is certainly a powerful toxin ... For many young people vomiting is the most likely reported negative outcome that they experience when they drink alcohol. In the 2011 ASSAD survey more than one in five (21.6%)12-15 year old male current drinkers (those who drank in the previous week) and well over a quarter of females (28.5%) of the same age reported vomiting after drinking in the past 12 months. Not surprisingly, far more 16-17 year olds were likely to report the practice, with 45.7% of male current drinkers of that age and 45.8% of females vomiting after drinking alcohol. What continues to concern me in the school context is how few young people I meet who have any idea how to look after a vomiting friend. E

Young women, alcohol and sexual assault

In one of my recent blog entries I talked about a conversation that I had had with a group of 15 year old girls who had not reported that two of their friends had been sexually assaulted because they believed "that's just what happens when you drink". When I told them that rape was a crime and that it didn't matter whether you were drunk or not they appeared shocked. The first time I meet a group of school students and deliver my Year 10 presentation I always raise the issue of sexual assault. It's discussed in the context of 'alcohol makes you vulnerable' - for young women it's sexual assault and for young men, robbery and violence. It is without doubt the most confronting part of the talk and it is not unusual to have a member of the audience (typically a young female) have to leave the session as they become more and more distressed with some of the stories I tell. In most cases this is due to the fact that they either know someone that has experi

Teenage parties and business opportunities: Promoters, photos and privacy

One of the consequnces of parents increasingly being unwilling to put on teenage parties due to the fear that they will get out of control is that when a 'gap' is created in the market there is always someone willing to fill it and try to make a quick buck out of it. Unfortunately, often those people are fairly unscrupulous and some of the activities that we are seeing are worrying to say the least. Across the country law enforement are most concerned about party promoters who organise events targeting adolescents and then market  these via social media. There have been a number of these large scale parties or 'gatherings' that have ended up getting seriously out of control with hundreds of teens of all ages turning up, often resulting in some fairly serious anti-social behaviour by some of the partygoers leading to major problems for nearby residents and police. In response, the Queensland Government recently announced that they are considering new legislation in

Does ecstasy really contain crushed-up glass?

I received a couple of emails from readers of my latest blog entry that dealt with the issue of possible 'adulterants' in LSD asking the question "what do manufacturers of illicit drugs actually put into their product and how harmful could these be?" Many people, including many drug users themselves, believe that illegal drugs can often be 'cut' with a variety of different dangerous substances. These can range from products found in the laundry cupboard, such as washing-up powder and bleach, through to rat poison, kitty litter and crushed-up glass. There is also the belief that sometimes, other more dangerous illicit drugs are added, either to add to the effect or to get the unsuspecting user 'hooked' on the other substance. This is particularly true when it comes to ecstasy, with many users believing that some pills contain heroin (often referred to as 'smacky E's'). Cannabis users will often talk of hearing that the plant is 'lace