JCCV and the battle against teenage alcohol abuse

November 19, 2010 by Geoffrey Zygier
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The Jewish Community Council of Victoria has called on parents to be firm and supportive if they are dealing with their children’s alcohol abuse issues.

Fighting teenage alcohol abuse

Speakers and audience members at a public forum, hosted by the JCCV as part of its Youth Alcohol Project, accepted that clear and non-negotiable boundaries for children were crucial.  As educator and family counsellor Michelle Kornberg noted, as the children’s safety and health clearly were factors guiding parents and would be reflected in their family values, then parents were obliged to say ‘no’.   This viewpoint had the strong support of the other panel members, Senior Constable Lisa Prince (Youth Resource Officer Glen Eira, Victoria Police), Rene D’Santanna (Senior Drug and Alcohol Counsellor, Odyssey House Victoria) and Danny Elbaum (Operations Manager, Chevra Hatzolah Melbourne, and was endorsed by JCCV president John Searle who chaired the forum.

Participants acknowledged that this is not a simple matter.  Parents naturally see themselves as the arbiters of their children’s behaviour and may well resent their parenting methods being challenged.  As was noted, however, there is a clear difference between criticism and providing information.  Hence the importance of forums such as this event which provide deeper understanding of these issues and empower participants to act as ambassadors for these critical messages.   In this regard, the involved audience – which included parents from the majority of Jewish schools, rabbonim and teachers – expressed concern that more of their peers were not there to hear the valuable information and strategies provided by the panel of speakers.  Those present committed to pass the message on to their particular communities.

The JCCV has a strong commitment to the YAP and is very encouraged by the response from both parents and students.  Earlier this week the Victorian Multicultural Commission acknowledged the YAP’s success with a grant of $10,000.00.  In announcing this grant, John Searle stated “On behalf of the JCCV and YAP I wish to thank the VMC and in particular Commissioner George Lekakis for providing this very generous funding which will enable the program to continue into 2011.  While it would obviously be preferable if the Jewish community didn’t have a problem like this, we have to make every effort to overcome it.”

In his summation of the forum, Searle noted that parents needed all possible support.  One positive way in which the JCCV could provide this was by lobbying the State government for legislative change that would make it illegal for ‘secondary suppliers’ (ie non-sellers) to provide alcohol to young people under 18 without their parents’ permission.  Such lobbying would commence after the State election this month and may involve a partnership with other faith communities.


2 Responses to “JCCV and the battle against teenage alcohol abuse”
  1. I’m sorry I forgot to end my previous message with our usual tag line:
    “Responsible Drinking” ends at .08

    Get 10 people in a room and ask them to define “responsible drinking”. You see it all the time in liquor company and government advertisements (often the same thing).
    But no one knows what it is!

    Well, The Pedestrian 08 Campaign gives you a clean, easily understood and communicated answer:
    “Responsible Drinking” ends at .08

    Please support it.

  2. We have to take a firmer stand on this issue.
    I’m running for the upper house for Southern Metropolitan on a mission to bring a pedestrian 08 limit to Victoria.
    In summary, the Pedestrian 08 Campaign seeks to motivate all and sundry to ‘see’ alcohol as just another drug. To see each drink as a ‘dose’ and to waken us up to the idea that at different, increasing doses, consistent patterns of events and damages will occur.
    Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) has been popularised by the point 05 campaign as the universally recognised expression of levels of inebriation.
    We are educated to believe that at point 05 you are no longer competent to drive. And that the greater the BAC the greater the damage to one’s competence and reliability occurs.
    Once out of our cars we forget these lessons!
    We need to carefully look at what hitting various levels of BAC does to our body and mind over time.
    Also, need to recognise that at certain BAC’s we should not be attempting to function as a pedestrian.
    Higher levels are closely associated with acts of violence.
    To clean up Melbourne, it’s CBD, our trains, trams and streets, we want to set a maximum BAC limit for those of us who wish to mingle with us, in public. Recall, that these people are often taking great risks with their own lives and ours.
    We need to:
    1. Set a BAC of point 08 as the maximum allowed.
    2. Educate the public to that level.
    3. Encourage a public anticipation of what BAC their ‘normal’ drinking leads to.
    4. Require any liquor outlet to provide available, reliable, serviced BAC testing machines for use by their patrons and others. Most of our pubs are so irresponsible, that they provide their patrons with no mechanism for finding out the levels of their sold drug in their bodies. Despite many patrons dying in the process.
    5. Provide Random Breath Testing teams of police to clean up trouble spots such as trains, trams, buses and our so called entertainment districts.
    Recall the recent survey where 85% of Victorians do not feel safe in Melbourne at night.

    During electioneering, I found mothers with teenage children extremely encouraging of my efforts. Grandparents have seen enough, they are on board too. Younger mothers have heard what’s going on in the wider community with alcohol and are largely encouraging.

    Things will get worse in Victoria.
    The Pedestrian 08 Campaign is one of the few proposed measures that promotes the Responsible Consumption of Alcohol. This means, it has almost nothing to do with Big Liquor, its outlets and flunkies.

    Mike Cockburn
    The Pedestrian 08 Campaign

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