Our booze culture has changed

Last updated 11:53 26/02/2013
TOO FAST: Emile Grey says our youth struggle to cope with a rapidly changing booze culture.

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I write this as a former youth worker who worked with at-risk youth within the community and education sector for 14 years. I also write this as a 47-years-young adult who was once a teen with all the vices.

I can't stress enough how much society has changed over the past two decades. For some it's been very hard to keep up with. For our young, it's been even harder.

If parents, teachers, youth workers, social policy analysts, and more, had known that society was and is the way it is, I am sure there would have been more preventative measures put in place. Policies that would have halted the easy availability of alcohol. Instant communication through texting could have seen programmes attempt to teach young children appropriate use of technology. Cars would have been limited or regulated to a certain power capacity or at least there would be compulsory defensive driving schools.

It's very easy to blame parents, and yes in some cases it's obvious that parents couldn't give a rat's yahoo. However in the context of change, are these parents able to claim to have the appropriate skills and maturity to be parents while society runs rings around them?

I believe our booze culture has changed quite considerably. It has had to, in order to meet the global demands and political involvement that have allowed these laws changes to be made. We as a society have to hold ourselves accountable. Not to lay blame, but to look back and realise that at the end of the day, we, the people of New Zealand, have been disempowered and used as pawns.

That's what needs to be changed. Our Kiwi "she'll be right", trust the government, the police, and those with authority, loyalty scheme. As if we or our children will gain by being loyal to an institution that has created a binge-drinking, harm-reduction, no-such-thing-as-experimenting, culture within the culture of our youth.

It starts with you, me, and the person next door. We must rally together to vote, protest and demand change. After all, those people with the authority are there to serve us, not big businesses, not political allies and definitely not their partners.

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