Authorities on substance abuse posit that heavy episodic drinking is becoming a cultural norm that is roping the younger generation into a bad habit too early.
“We rank number three in the region in adolescent substance abuse and the two prominent substances that are highlighted in their use is alcohol and marijuana. Now we have somehow normalized the whole usage of alcohol because it is everywhere, it is in everything that we do and culturally our grandparents may say ‘oh we are giving you this to kill the worms’ or whatever the case is, so our young people are getting introduced fairly early,” Acting Deputy Director of the Family and Social Services Division with responsibility for The Substance Abuse Prevention Division, Feona Charles-Richards said.
In concretizing her point, Charles-Richards pointed to the fact that there were many underaged revelers at Saturday’s t-shirt mas.
“With the whole idea of wanting to fit in, of course that is another way and we see that happening even yesterday in t-shirt mas where we have persons who are teenagers and are not the legal drinking age reveling yesterday [Saturday] and of course were using. And in some instances, they were misusing and yes, they cannot remember what happened yesterday and of course the vomiting, the after effects of all of that. We have made it seem as if it’s okay so it is an issue and it is even more of an issue in our adolescent population,” she added.
Meanwhile, the director of the St. Lucia-based Caribbean Drug and Alcohol Research Institute Dr. Marcus Day said that the problem is that persons have not been sensitized as to the consequences of drinking.