Korea is a society which encourages the drinking of liquor. In a recent popular TV drama, the drinking to excess was romanticized in two consecutive episodes. In a preview for a drama, they had a caricature of drinking from a barrel for spring water filled with Soju (Korean liquor). They used famous young people as models. Beer is cool and Soju is smooth everybody can enjoy, are the methods to tempt the viewers. The mass media just shows the pleasure and delights of drinking with few of the dangers and the need for control.
An authority in the field begins his article in View from the Ark in the Catholic Times with the above words. He reminds the readers that in the developed countries liquor comes with a warning. No well-known entertainers are used to push the products and all is done very simply by the display of liquor products. In the movies, you don't see scenes where you have conflict and the drinking to excess but only at banquets where it is done very naturally and without fanfare.
In our society it is different. Our young people are continually exposed to drinking scenes. 'I want the opportunity to drink like the entertainers.' 'When things are tough and spirits are low it's time to drink.' ' Drinking to a point where losing control of yourself is romantic.' Our young people drinking is no longer considered misconduct. 75% of juveniles have experienced drinking and 25% drink at least once or more a month.
When he meets a juvenile at the hospital because of drink he is baffled. They drink despite the efforts of parents. When they meet the police officers they respond: "Don't all the adults drink? We have started a bit early is there any big difference?" The writer is disappointed that the schools and society are not pro-active in trying to dissuade the young from drinking.
The brains of the young people are still being formed. Young people drinking causes a number of problems. They are not able to control their drinking. Usually an adult who drinks too much will be faced with drowsiness, headaches, nausea, and will stop but this is not the case in the young. In their brain the brake mechanism does not react. In one years time there are about 4000 acts of violence perpetrated by drink in the young. What is worse is that the young exposed to drink at an early age are 5 times more open to becoming alcoholics.
Once a person becomes an alcoholic the chances of change are difficult. Preventing the problem is much easier. Among the 30 nations of the OECD, the efforts made to control the abuse of alcohol-- Korea is near the bottom at 22nd place. The developed countries do not look upon the merriment that comes with alcohol as something good. Their culture sees restraint and carefulness as something to be attained.
In many countries the selling of alcohol and the places where drinking is allowed are regulated. Advertising is regulated with strict guidelines. Adults need to be concerned with the temptations that alcohol has for the young and take responsibility.
Pope Francis had these words for the young in one of his talks:"You are the makers, the craftsmen of the future, Go out and 'make noise' because where there are young people there must be noise. Be courageous, and when people say 'have a little alcohol, take a bit of drug', No. Go against this civilization that is causing us so much harm."