Parents urged to monitor children's party activities
Denise Chin, substance abuse officer at the National Council on Drug Abuse, wants parents to be more vigilant in monitoring the events they allow their children to attend.
She said the summer season may present more opportunities for underaged partygoers to get alcohol.
"Parents need to play a greater role in monitoring where they are going; they may not even be going to a party. They may be even going to a friend's house where alcoholic beverage is present," she said.
She noted that based on surveys done in the past on drug abuse, alcohol is the most popular substance used among the adult and adolescent population.
"For us, alcohol is very much embedded in our culture and it is coming from years back. Most persons don't see alcohol as a big deal but when the consequences of misuse occur, that is when it becomes a big deal," she said.
She believes the high consumption of alcohol may lead to poor decisions, which may lead to issues such as unwanted pregnancy and the contraction of sexual transmitted infections.
Chin feels the strong association between alcohol and celebrating happy times, may influence adolescents to want to try drinking alcohol.
However, she also believes that more public education regarding the harmful effects of alcohol, may help to change the mindset.
Along with parents, Chin believes that the media can play a greater role in reducing the allure of alcohol consumption to underaged individuals by choosing the time that they run advertisements of alcoholic beverages and the frequency they are carried.
"If every minute you're watching news and every time there is a commercial break it is some alcohol advertisement coming up, that is not going to be very helpful," she said.
Red Stripe has taken the stance that persons purchasing alcoholic beverages at Reggae Sumfest must present government-approved photo identification. Chin believes that this should be the norm at all parties.
Digital copies or print outs of the ID, for example photos of the ID date page on any mobile device will also be accepted at the weeklong showcase.
Only patrons above 18 will receive a special armband which will allow them to purchase alcohol.