Editorial: Parents have to answer

By Dylan Thorne

It's disturbing to learn more than 20 per cent of arrests on New Year's Eve involved underage drunks.

The region's top police officer Area Commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said the high number of youths under 17 who were out on the town, heavily intoxicated and getting into trouble was the single biggest issue arising on the night.

And it wasn't just police who were dealing with the fallout.

Young people were also over-represented in the admissions to the Emergency Department.

The clinical leader of the department, Derek Sage, was surprised at the number of young people who had to be treated for intoxication, the vast majority of which were aged 18 or younger.

He estimated that 85 per cent of admissions were alcohol-related, be that intoxication or injuries related to alcohol.

The fact some of these young people have drunk so much so as to require medical attention gives some indication of the scale of the problem.

All of this raises the obvious question: Where were the parents?

In some cases, I'm sure, the parents may have been blissfully unaware their child was out on the town. The teens may have told a lie or two about their whereabouts and their plans.

There would have been others, though, who simply did not care where their children were or what they were up to.

Mr Paxton said the amount of youth offending on New Year's Eve should serve as a message to parents and supervisors to make sure their teenagers were supervised and were not drinking.

He adds that without supervision these young people were vulnerable. And perhaps that really is the point.

The more alcohol a young person consumes, the more likely he or she is to get in strife.

Their actions may result in a court appearance that limits future job prospects.

Worse still, they might end up adding to the road toll and that's a scary thought for any parent.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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