A prominent mental health expert has expressed dismay over the volume of alcohol being consumed by teenagers.
Dr. Vivienne Knead made her comments at a gathering yesterday of mental health experts and youth advocacy groups.
“Today’s youth has a major problem with booze,” said Dr. Knead. “We need to do something about the level of access teens currently have to liquor. This is a mental health crisis.
“The problem is a simple one. Our kids just aren’t drinking enough.”
Dr. Knead said that young people were constantly under pressure from their peers to use alcohol.
“But too many of them are saying no to the booze. This isn’t just a problem for the liquor industry or the shareholders of the booze companies. It’s actually hurting our kids.
“I need only look back to my own youth. When I was fifteen I was desperately lonely and insecure. But when I got blasted with my mates the world was a fantastic place. We would get totally wasted, then head into town and end up doing some weed and maybe picking up some guys. Good times, I tell you. Good times.”
Dr Knead said teenagers needed strong role models, and parents had an important part to play in teaching their children about alcohol.
“My Dad was a pisshead. There was always loads of booze about, and I would always be stealing from the liquor cabinet. He was so smashed most of the time he never realised I was sly-grogging. I owe it all to my father.”
Restrictive liquor purchasing laws were responsible for much of the anti-social behavior of adolescents, said Dr Knead.
“You all know the warning signs of a troubled teen. They’re usually uptight, withdrawn kids who have difficulty communicating with others. These are the kids who aren’t drinking. The cool ones are out having fun, getting pissed, having sex and doing crazy stupid things. What a great life! Why aren’t more kids doing it?”
Dr. Knead is well respected within the mental health community, but has also written a series of popular books on parenting and youth issues, such as Spare The Rod Spoil The Fun, Growing Wasted Boys, and Get Your Awful Kids Away From Me You Whore.
However, Dr Knead’s comments have drawn an immediate reaction from anti-liquor groups.
“What she suggests is mad,” said James O’Flynn, Chairman of the Anti Liquor Alliance.
“Our kids are killing themselves with alcohol. They’re dying on the roads, and in the gutters, and they’re suffering depression and ill health.
“How can anyone say something as irresponsible as this? It goes against decades of health research.”
But Dr Knead says O’Flynn’s comments aren’t justified.
“I knew James from school. He was a stupid pasty-faced little nerd who spent all his time in the computer lab. I bet he still lives with his mother. Maybe if he’d gone out on the lash with the rest of us he wouldn’t be quite so uptight.”