If you think alcohol consumption and binge drinking among adolescents is unique to the United States of America, think again. It seems like there is a new story or survey from all parts of the globe related to teen alcohol consumption. Here’s what is happening in India.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Mumbai is second to Delhi-NCR in terms of the number of adolescents, who drink alcohol, followed by Chandigarh and Hyderabad.
The survey, which predicts that alcohol consumption in India will cross 19,000 million liters by 2015 from the current level of 6,700 million liters, attributes the growth to an increase in adolescent drinking.
The survey states that nearly half of all Class 12 students in metropolitan cities have taken to drinking due to "high disposable incomes, lack of parental supervision, changing society norms and peer pressure."
While 32% of the teens surveyed said they drink when they are upset, 18% drink when they are alone, 15% do so when they are bored and 46% said they drink to "get high".
In June, the state government had raised the age for drinking alcohol from 21 to 25. But that hasn't proved to be a deterrent.
One class of 2012 student remarked, "Many of my friends drink once in two weeks. Everyone I know has at least tried it. Those who go out clubbing or partying more frequently end up drinking a lot more. Clubs and wine stores sell alcohol to anyone without asking for identification. There are some parents who do not mind when their children drink even at our age, but most remain unaware."
It has been proven that the earlier you start drinking the more likely you are to become addicted to booze. This is no surprise. It is also no surprise that teens want to drink alcohol. They drink to rebel, to suppress inhibitions and because their friends are doing it.
Perhaps India should require all adolescents to take an online alcohol class where they can learn first-hand what is going to happen to them if they drink booze and binge drink at a young age.