FROM THE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT WELFARE

In conjunction with Professor John Toumbourou and Professor Peter Miller from Deakin University and with advice from Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia (DARTA) I draw your attention to three (3) important articles published in January 2015. My concern, and the concern of Professors Toumbourou and Miller, is that many students are consuming alcohol at parties and that this consumption is impacting upon their immediate health and wellbeing as well as their schooling and potentially, in an ongoing and lifelong sense, preventing them from managing life well. This could result in them not ‘being the best they could be’. The articles look at 1. Alcohol and the Developing brain, 2. Alcohol poisoning and 3. How do you look after a vomiting drunk friend. I do not want students to find themselves in situations where sensible decisions cannot be made or where students are captured by a circumstance that prohibits them from making good decisions. I have previously written to all parents about parties and in that letter I indicated the School’s concern, and certainly parent concern about parties and how students do struggle to get it right at parties where alcohol consumption occurs.

ALCOHOL POISONING (PDF 69.9KB)

HOW DO YOU LOOK AFTER A VOMITING DRUNK FRIEND? (PDF 77KB)

ALCOHOL AND THE DEVELOPING BRAIN (PDF 78.1KB)

I draw your attention particularly to the article on "Alcohol and the developing brain". Alcohol is “roundup” to neurons and does impact upon the brain and does impair brain development directly as well as impair the capacity to consciously realise the moment let alone make wise decisions. Alcohol "stains" the entire brain and does directly inhibit brain function. The article describes this and we all know this. It does lead to brain damage and more risk taking behaviour. We know alcohol inhibits the five senses and therefore the capacity to gather accurate information needed for decision making, thus .05 blood alcohol regulations. We also know that alcohol is a major cause of aggressive, reckless and harmful behaviour within families, friendships, and communities.

I recognise that the Australian culture promotes alcohol consumption and that young people feel entitled to consume alcohol sooner rather than later. Professors Toumbourou and Miller have studied such and have been nationally recognised for their significant work in trying to draw the nations’ attention to the fact that our culture is directly impacting upon the young and disturbing the development of the young as they grow through the most impressionable and risk taking phase of their lives. As Director of Student Welfare I, like them, am seriously concerned for these young people for many will find themselves inadvertently badly placed when an important decision needs to be made. The risk is high. I do not want any student making a decision that may harm them or another or find themselves in situations where they are unable to control what is occurring. I know you as parents share this concern. Alcohol consumption does so place these young people.

Please do read the documents above and please re-read the letter I sent earlier in the year about parties.

In kindness
John Hendry

 

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