Eight people were tragically killed and 10 more injured in a tavern in Makaza, Khayelitsha in June 2015 when a metal staicase collapsed. The most shocking part of this story? Most were underage!
After the Makaza tavern incident, the frightening truth was revealed about underage drinking in South Africa. However, has this incident really changed our youths behaviour towards drinking alcohol?
A recent study done by the Wits' School of Public Health showed that 12% of young people start drinking at the tender age of 13, and even before!
Statistics also showed that binge drinking has become a norm and is steadily increasing amoungst teen girls.
So, why do teenagers continue to use alcohol?
Underage drinking can be caused by a variety of reasons, lets take a look at the three most common reasons:
- Boredom & instant friends
Some teenagers have trouble concentrating on school work and finding genuine hobbies. They crave taking risks and don't want to be alone. So, alcohol can be used to keep them busy and look cool in-front of their friends.
- Lack of confidence
Some teens may try to get drunk before going to a party to give them the confidence to do things that they would otherwise not do.
Alcohol is the drug of choice for teenagers because it frees or allows them to behave aggressively. This aggressive behaviour can be a display of rebelliousness and rejection of their parents and rules.
The Government has for years contemplated a ban on alcohol advertising and possibly increasing the legal drinking age, but the alcohol industry insists that there is no correlation between adverts and drinking habits. However, researchers beg to differ.