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‘30 years on, thrice as many male adolescents hit the bottle’

‘30 years on, thrice as many male adolescents hit the bottle’

10 Oct 2018 No comment 78 hits

PANAJI: One of the state’s most prominent voluntary organisations on Tuesday stated that thrice as many Goan adolescents consume alcohol today as compared to 30 years ago. Sangath, in its research, spoke to 2,000 men.

The organization’s addiction research group (ARG) is now working on a strategy to help adolescents reduce their drinking.

Since alcohol abuse is usually taboo, Sangath intends to use technology to help youth and adults deal with hazardous drinking. Sangath is currently developing two research projects — Powertxt and Ambit — to try and address the problem.

Powertxt is developing a chatbot which will interact with adolescents in the 18-24 age bracket and provide options to help them reduce their drinking, says ARG research fellow Benedict Weobong. The Ambit project is based on a simple SMS which will try and provide adults aged 18-40 years with strategies to change their drinking habits.

The preliminary study indicates that a liberal drinking culture, proliferation of alcohol outlets, weakening family values, and most importantly, peer influence, have contributed to hazardous drinking among youth.

“While these are common reasons, there is also the fact that adolescents are vulnerable because they are at a stage in life when they have to make tough decisions about their careers, and more importantly their self-identity,” says Powertxt research and project coordinator, Sandra Travasso.

Sangath’s research findings are in line with a countrywide trend which suggest that the prevalence of ‘current alcohol use’ in the age group of 13-21 ranges from 6% to 53%. “More than half of all young people in this age group in India currently consume alcohol!” says Weobong. “Moreover, women are beginning to consume alcohol at rates similar to men.”

Given that the World Mental Health Day 2018 theme is ‘young people and mental health in a changing world’, Sangath plans to lay extra emphasis this year on dealing with adolescent mental health and substance abuse, and is launching campaigns such as ‘It’s ok to talk’ and ‘It’s time to talk’ respectively.

In 2015, Time magazine named Sangath’s founding member, Vikram Patel, as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
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Source: ‘30 years on, thrice as many male adolescents hit the bottle’

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