Alcohol a problem with Melbourne teenagers

May 14, 2010 Agencies
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Melbourne Jewish teenagers are being refused entry to commmunal events….because they arrive intoxicated.

John Searle

John Searle, president of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria, told J-Wire: “A Purim function was held recently at which parents actually dropped off children who had been drinking. Sadly, this is not an isolated case. We have seen children as young as thirteen suffering from the effects of alcohol. There have been many instances of alcohol being smuggled into events and of medical help being needed when children passed out. ”

The JCCV  is conducting Focus Groups for Year 6 students and Parents of Year 6 Students at most of the city’s Jewish Day Schools.

The Focus Groups aim to inform the project and the curriculum that the JCCV will deliver to the Jewish community in its forthcoming educational program on alcohol.

Searle stated that the proposed educational program has been embraced by most schools, with students, parents and teachers prepared to listen and learn from experts in the field of alcohol related issues. He added: “I think most people now realise that it’s time to act on youth alcohol abuse. Again I wish to thank the members of the Youth Alcohol Project steering committee for their work in getting to this stage, particularly representatives of Jewish Care and Hatzolah.” He added that in some cases, police have had to get involved.

Debbie Zauder has been appointed the Youth Alcochol Project Officer and will oversee the schools’ programs.

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies told J-Wire they had no program available, leaving alcohol and drug problems to the Care organisation.

JewishCare’s Warren Hurst told J-Wire: “There is no doubt that there is a problem but at this stage we are dealing with the schools through their counsellors and offering whatever programs we have available, including our Big Brother, Big Sister initiative which sees troubled kids teamed up with mentoring older children.”

The Jewish House’s Rabbi Mendel Kastel added: “It is a growing problem. I have seen children as young as 10 suffering from alcohol issues. No less serious is the problem of marijuana…and there I have come across cases of 13 and 14-yr-old using the drug.”

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