Hyderabad: Hyderabad is fourth in teenage drinking, says a recent survey and it was found that many children begin drinking at 12. Ten to 15 per cent of children who start drinking early become addicts by the time they turn 18.
Experts say that alcohol consumption among teens has gone up by 41 per cent in the last decade. Many children drink five to six times a month, reveals data at various de-addiction centres in the city. The reasons for this are peer pressure, plenty of pocket money, easy access to alcohol and low parental supervision.
Despite new laws, zero tolerance policies and stronger community education programmes teen exposure to alcohol is on the rise. One of the reasons is its easy accessibility in social gatherings, sporting events, parties and at homes.
Dr Boyanapally Philip Kumar, consultant psychiatrist said, “Different surveys and cases in clinics indicate that 70 per cent of high school students have had at least one alcoholic beverage. It begins through experimentation, curiosity and self-esteem among peers.”
Among teenagers it has been found that children who avoid alcohol are bullied if they do not accept alcohol. Alcohol is one of the prime requirements for acceptance in many groups.
Advocate Sameer Zeeshan explained, “The legal age for consumption of alcohol is 21. But in the case of teens we found that they procure alcohol via maids, servants, gardeners, helpers and also steal from home.”
Ms Kavita Vaswani of a de-addiction centre said, “There have been cases of Class VIII students bringing alcohol in water bottles. In one case a group made one person bring alcohol every day and there were 12 of them. The school management was shocked when they found students drunk. It took over two years for them to get rid of the problem.”
Every year, approximately 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking in India. This includes 1,900 deaths from motor vehicles, 1,600 due to homicides, 300 from suicide and hundreds from injuries like falls, burns and drowning, according to an Asscham survey in 2015....