THE REAL REPUBLICA UPDATE: INCREASE IN YOUTH DRINKING
As I personally prepare for an upcoming trip out to the Dominican Republic, I've decided to use my Editor In Chief powers to focus on some of the scenes and issues on the island–something like a true República Update! Hence, one of the first topics of discussion that I'd like to put forth is the recent increase of youth drinking on the island according to DR1:
A survey of 19,473 young people in 160 public high schools nationwide has found that excessive alcohol consumption is up 15%. The study, Risk Behavior in Adolescents in the Dominican Republic, carried out by the Ministry of Education established that there has been a steady increase among young people between the ages of 14 and 18 who drink between one and five glasses of alcohol straight. Frequent and considerable alcohol consumption increased from 26.54% in 2009 to 41.47% of all young people in 2010. There is not much variation according to gender. The percentage of boys admitting to excessive drinking was 43.4% compared to girls with 40.35%. The average in the US and Puerto Rico is no more than 24%.
Now what are the implications of such numbers? Well, for one, considering that the Dominican Republic is a developing nation, this means that one of the country's most important resources, its youth and future leaders, is succumbing to the influence of alcoholism. It should also be noted that alcoholism is proven to reinforce destructive health habits, a gateway into overall poor life choices that will continue to oppress a substantial sector of the poor population. What's worse is that the Dominican Republic is globally recognized for its festive people, touristic destinations and celebratory nature, where alcohol and parties for different occasions are not uncommon. But where do we as a people differentiate between a lust for life and the unhealthy habits of our youth? And so I raise the issue–The República Update!