Engaging young people in advocacy, education & prevention
Creating social change around alcohol, drugs, and more

Everyone — youth and adults alike — need to step up

October 3, 2008 12:59 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

This entry is part one in a series of five by our youth correspondent Brett Ouimette.

“Drink, Drink, Drink!” These seem to be the words that almost all teenagers (and even adults) associate with a fun and crazy weekend. Obviously I’m not talking about an ordinary beverage, I’m talking about alcohol. Alcohol is a very big problem in our society, and everyone knows it. Unfortunately for us, not many people are ready to admit it, or do anything to help change it.

As teens growing up in the new millennium, we have all types of new and exiting technology, and with that technology comes new ways to get into trouble. We have cell phones, text messaging, instant messaging, MySpace, Facebook, Google, and lots of other methods to find the hottest, craziest parties at any given time. If we want to get drunk we can do it, and fast. It is completely acceptable and feels almost encouraged by everyone around us — even by adults.

That’s why I’m working with Straight Up Ventura County. I think that if we want to change what’s going on with teens and alcohol we have to change what’s going on with our society and alcohol. We can’t just point the finger at teens and expect them to change their behavior. Here’s a saying I found online:

Holding young people solely responsible for underage drinking is like holding fish responsible for dying in a polluted stream.

Of course, teens need to be held responsible for their behaviors. And teens can also step up to the plate and help to change the social norms that are contributing to the problems and tragedies related to underage drinking, binge drinking and impaired driving. That’s what Straight Up is all about, and why I’m proud to be a part of it.

Brett Ouimette is an 18-year-old college student originally from Simi Valley.