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Drink and drugs a lethal cocktail for our teens

Editor's Viewpoint

Published 08/02/2014

The scenes at the Odyssey complex on Thursday evening, during which scores of young people fell` ill due to the effects of drink and drugs, have left many people horrified.

This led to a major incident for the ambulance services, and it began even before the packed concert started inside the building. Video footage indicated that the trouble also spread into the arena.

The danger of drink and drugs among young people is all too familiar. What is particularly shocking, however, is its prevalence, and at such a young age.

Overindulgence in drink and drugs remains a macabre badge of honour, or more appropriately 'dishonour', for some young people who lack sense and self-discipline, but the question remains: What can be done?

Serious questions need to be asked and answered about the wisdom of holding a 'rave' for such a huge number of young people, because a venture on this scale is extremely difficult to control, as Thursday night's horror stories bore out.

In Edinburgh, DJ Hardwell's gig has been cancelled because of fears about crowd safety.

There is another important question to be faced about the availability of drugs which in many cases are cheaper than alcohol. That is not to minimise the danger of drink itself, which on its own can cause immense damage to young people's health and also lead them out of control.

This is a deeply worrying situation where it is not good enough for well-intentioned people just to say 'Something should be done'. It is time to take action in areas where something can and must be done.

Not enough parents are taking proper responsibility for their children. Not enough is being done to control the price of alcohol and to educate the young about drugs. More education is needed to hammer home the message to young people of the danger of destroying themselves.

Unless all these and other steps are taken, the dangers of drink and drugs in our midst will blight future generations, and with appalling consequences.

Belfast Telegraph

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