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Parents urged to discuss alcohol with children

A new survey has found considerably higher rates of alcohol and drug use among young people than previous national data.

ESTELLE GRIEPINK May 8, 2014 4:34am

The general manager of headspace Shepparton is urging parents to talk to their children about alcohol.

An Australia-wide survey of 3634 young people aged from 12 to 25 revealed 92 per cent had drunk alcohol and 32 per cent had taken drugs in the past two months.

Of the under-18s that responded to the survey, 74 per cent said they had drunk alcohol in the past two months, 24 per cent had taken drugs in the past two months and 65 per cent said their friends used drugs.

Caroline French said communication in the home was most important between the ages of 14 and 15.

‘‘We encourage parents to be informed and talk to their kids about these issues without judging, as well as understand that their own relationships with alcohol and drugs will have a significant impact on the young people in their household,’’ Ms French said.

Ms French said drug and alcohol support was offered at headspace Shepparton, along with primary care, counselling, education and vocation support.

She said the youth organisation’s approach worked because the young person did not need to identify themselves as having a drug problem in order to access treatment and support.

‘‘Young people will more often than not come to headspace Shepparton for reasons other than drug or alcohol concerns, and we then look at alcohol and other drugs as part of the entire picture,’’ she said.

‘‘We ask the young person what is their most pressing issue they want to work on and together we develop a plan about what they want help with.

‘‘Sometimes there are other concerns they want to address before they plan to get assistance around any drug and alcohol issues.’’

Ms French said the survey also showed 60 per cent of young people aged from 12 to 25 got their information on alcohol and drugs from their friends.

She said it was important health services engaged with peers and and social media channels.

‘‘There is no wrong door at headspace Shepparton and we see addressing the use of alcohol and other drugs as part of our overall wellbeing and mental health approach,’’ she said.

Headspace Shepparton is at 129 High St, Shepparton.

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