The Problem With Alcohol

Yesterday a boy from my small town was sentenced to 2 years in jail for an alcohol fuelled assault during summer. The attacker and the victim who’s names I won’t disclose were both in court yesterday for the sentencing.
The attack happened at a party in the area where the victim was attempting to break up a potential fight between the attacker and another boy. A fight then broke out between the pair and the victim was stabbed in the face with a broken glass bottle, leaving him with substantial injuries. He was treated in hospital, eventually receiving stiches after seeing a plastic surgeon about the damage to his lips and cheek. He has now made a fantastic recovery, and thankfully not been left with severe disfigurement or scarring!

I know both boys well and was shocked when the attack took place. Neither boys are violent or aggressive people, in fact both of them are well rounded, lovely individuals.

For me, this has really brought the dangers of alcohol consumption into the limelight.

This was definitely an alcohol fuelled attack, and without the over indulgence, I doubt so much as an exchange of words would even have surfaced. Obviously, punishment has been given where it’s been due, but I can’t help but feel sorry for both boys.
I know what the attacker did was wrong, but I also know he was heavily inebriated, not fully aware and instantly regretted what he had done. I feel quite strongly that he is also a victim in this situation – a victim of alcohol.

Probably most of us have been drunk. Most of us have probably been drunk with friends and found their behaviour hilarious. We’ve probably all had a good laugh or began an intense hunt for pictures to de-tag on facebook from the night before. And I’m sure for many people these nights are first experienced underage.
Though the majority of us would associate alcohol fuelled fights with drinkers on the street or more the behaviour of our local young team, the unexpected influence of drink can create these situations at any time.
This happened at a house party of friends, like any other you or I might have attended, with the exception being now a 2 year jail sentence.

The Government had planned to raise the drinking age to 21, but I personally don’t think this will change anything. Our overall drinking culture has to be addressed properly and I don’t think increasing the age would have a positive effect. It may be better to decrease the age. If we aren’t supposed to do something, we tend to do it anyway. If the temptation is there to be sneaky and try to get away with things then we will do just that! We’ll drink before we’re legal, we’ll get fake ID and try our luck at getting into clubs, skip classes or alter our ages in order to gain some form of discount. And once you get away with it, you’ll certainly do it again until you’ve done it so many times your addicted to the feeling. If the drinking age was lowered, yes we might see a sudden surge of underage drinkers feeling powerful enough to get hammered as soon as they can, but when it’s not against the law anymore it might just not feel that fun. We might even see a decrease in the amount of teens getting drunk, simply because that exhilarating feeling of not being caught isn’t in play anymore. I think many 18+ year olds can’t get drunk as easily as they could when they were younger, because they know they can do it anyway and the option is always going to be there = not as much fun.

I know it’s just an untested theory which won’t work for everyone but the issue of binge drinking must be addressed and the so called alcohol abuse education currently circulating schools isn’t going to create much of an impact. We all know becoming an alcoholic is bad, but you clearly don’t have to be one to ruin the start of your life all because of one night. I can only wonder what sort of ridiculous plans the government may consider to bring in, which will no doubt ruin the fun for the rest of us who aren’t planning on assaulting anyone, but if French teenagers can have a glass of wine with their dinner, why do our teenagers feel the need to buy a bottle and hit the streets?

Samantha Croal.

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3 Responses

  1. Fab post Sam, I think it does bring home how easily situations can get out of hand and the fact that you have said you know both boys and they are otherwise very placid makes it even more alarming. It has made me think about other countries where the alcohol age limit is lower. It may be worth doing some kind of comparison article which looks at statistics from different countries with higher and lower age limits and see how they measure up with issues of teen drinking/violence.
    Great job.
    Lisa. x

  2. I totally agree with you about alcohol fuelling an inner rage in some people – I have a similar experience of a house party that got out of hand and ended with a police call and people being badly beaten with golf clubs – partly I think that the macho-man comes out in some guys after they have had a bit too much. In saying that I think alcohol effects people in different ways, some people are ‘happy drunks’ for example. I think Lisa’s idea about conducting a comparison article with a country like France would be a great, and really interesting to read as well.
    Brilliant piece Samanatha. xx

  3. Great post Sammi, and very interesting, thanks for that!

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