Preventing Injuries by Providing Information
This essay will be exploring the prevention of underage alcohol consumption and risk and injury prevention by understanding resistance to parental information programs and awareness. First, the burden of injury that underage alcohol consumption poses in Australia, will be outlined, followed by an overview and discussion of a mixed methods study on the ‘reasons for non-participation in a parental program concerning underage drinking’. Finally, reasons against early exposure to alcohol and the ethics guiding nurses in their education of alcohol to adolescents will be explored.
Alcohol consumption is a significant part of Australian culture (Australian Bureau of Statistics [ABS], 2012) used widely throughout various social and cultural contexts (National Health and Medical Research Council [NHMRC], 2011). Many Australians consume alcohol for reasons such as sociability, cultural participation, religion, peer influence, pleasure, relaxation, mood alteration, enhanced creativity, intoxication, addiction, boredom, habit, to overcome inhibitions and to escape or forget and do ‘drown their sorrows’ (NHMRC, 2011). Unfortunately, it is the example of Australian adults and changing social and cultural norms that are dramatically increasing the participation of underage drinking by children and teenagers throughout Australia (NHMRC, 2011). Also, the availability of alcohol has become more accessible (NHMRC, 2011), increasing the opportunity for adolescents to acquire and consume alcohol in large quantities and without their parents knowledge (NHMRC, 2011). As a result, alcohol related harm, among young people 16-24 years, is one of the leading causes of disease and injury burden in Australia (Ward & Verrinder, 2008) and 52% of all alcohol-related serious road injuries are attributed to adolescents 15-24 years of age (NHMRC, 2009). In a survey on the use of alcohol by Australian secondary school students, it was found that experience with alcohol was high amongst secondary school students (NHMRC, 2011) and that as age increased, alcohol consumption became more common (NHMRC, 2011). The study reported that by age 14, 90% of students had tried alcohol, and at age 17, 70% of students had consumed alcohol within the month before the survey (NHMRC, 2011). The survey also shows that the percentage of students drinking during the week, increasing with age, ranged from 19% of 12 year olds to 50% of 17 year olds (NHMRC, 2011). Alcohol consumption is second only to tobacco as a preventable cause of drug-related death and hospitalisation in Australia (NHMRC, 2011). Underage consumption of alcohol accounts for 13% of all deaths between 14-17 year old Australians, leading to approximately one (1) adolescent death and 60 adolescent hospitalisations as a result of alcohol per week (NHMRC, 2011) and 1 in 2 adolescents aged 15-17 who become intoxicated will do something they regret (Grace, Moore & Northcote, 2009) . The effects of alcohol on the body are toxic and lead to many chronic diseases and illnesses (NHMRC, 2011), most of which are leading killers within Australia (NHMRC, 2011). Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, causing immediate, cumulative and prolonged effects on the brain, liver and kidneys (NHMRC, 2011). While adolescents binge and drink alcohol weekly, they cause damage to their bodies. Prolonged alcohol consumption causes many of Australia’s highest rates of disease such as, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, mental health illnesses, liver disease, long-term cognitive impairment, cancer and more (NHMRC, 2011). The risk of injury, as a result of adolescent alcohol consumption, is not limited to adolescents, but also to the community around them. Alcohol fuelled violence, assault, petty crime, vandalism and road safety (NHMRC, 2011) are all socioeconomic consequences which contribute to the burden of disease and injury within Australia, as a result of underage...
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