Be very careful what alcohol you make available to teens

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A recent national report highlighted the fact that girls aged between 15 and 19 are drinking more and being hospitalised for alcohol poisoning more than any other group.

It doesn’t surprise me one little bit as, after witnessing an after-prom party, I can see there is something fundamentally lacking in the way our teenagers consume alcohol: restraint.

When it goes down the hatch, a pint of beer feels the same as a pint of vodka. The units don’t matter

Yes, I remember perfectly well how hard it is to say no to alcohol. There are several bushes along the south coast where I was ill post-drinking.

I also clearly recollect sticking my fingers down various friends’ throats to help them be sick so that they could carry on drinking.

Yep, I was a teenage alcohol vomiter. Each time it happened I stopped drinking for a long time. At least six months. And each time it happened it was after cider, beer or wine.

I think the difference between now and then is the volume that teenagers are consuming.

At a recent prom party in my own home, most of the guests turned up with bottles of spirits.

In my innocence – or some may call it stupidity – I’d said I’d provide drinks and bought two bottles of beer for everyone.

They were treated as a mere starter, shortly followed by cataclysmic amounts of vodka, gin and other spirits.

Apparently this alcohol came with the blessing of various parents who’d seemingly provided it for their children.

And therein lies the issue. Teenagers drink what’s in their hands – it doesn’t matter to them about the strength, as for them it’s volume.

When it goes down the hatch, a pint of beer feels the same as a pint of vodka. The units don’t matter.

Perhaps as parents, perhaps as society, perhaps as sneaky older friends, we have given our teenagers plentiful access to the exotic.

And they are unprepared for the results – as I was when I came downstairs to find three saucepans being used as buckets simultaneously, the kitchen floor and front door dripping with slime and the bathroom in use.

I urge caution with alcohol availability for offspring, both girls and boys.