Binge Drinking Laws perpetuate Underage Drinking in Dangerous Environments

by Hannah Klomp

STUDENTS from the University of Wollongong have conflicting views regarding the State Government’s proposal for a law that could send parents to jail for up to 12 months if they allow minors, not being their own children to consume alcohol within their homes.

While the students agreed that underage drinking is a significant problem within the Illawarra area, many thought that the harsh conditions of these laws would not control underage drinking, but rather lead the youth to drink in more dangerous environments rather than that of a home where adults are present.

“Underage drinking cannot really be avoided, it happens everywhere! If they can’t drink in a controlled environment of the home, they will just run into the parks and other dangerous environments to consume the alcohol, and the problem will just become even worse!” stated psychology student, Sarah Smith.

Students were also questioning whether it was fair that parents took the responsibility for minors drinking behaviours, and believed that underage drinking could be better controlled if youth were faced with harsher penalties.

Bob Brown, a father of two teenagers, stated that “If minors want to drink, they will drink. Laws that do not affect them will not make them stop drinking. It has to be specifically impacting on their own lives, being that if they drink, they cop the blame.”

Emily Hunter, a Bachelor of Medicine student also agreed that underage drinking has to be controlled and that it’s the society’s responsibility as a whole to be a part of the stop of underage drinking.

“Something definitely has to be done. The risk of 12 months imprisonment may actually be the answer to deterring parents to allow minors from drinking, therefore hopefully putting a stop for underage drinking for good!”

NOTE: Names have been changed due to privacy reasons