Delay teen drinking.
That is the key message the Central Otago Drugs and Alcohol (Coda) network is driving home to parents and teenagers.
Coda is made up of representatives of 18 community organisations from the health, youth, and education sectors, as well as police, and has been active in the region for more than 10 years.
The advocacy and advisory group is preparing to launch its new initiative, The Plan, in Alexandra, before implementing it throughout Central Otago.
First developed and piloted by the Nelson Tasman Alcohol Accord (NTAA) in 2018, The Plan provides resources in liquor outlets, schools and online to help parents to have conversations with their teenagers about drinking.
Issues around teenage drinking, consent and parents’ responsibility under the law had been identified as concerns in the community, and The Plan would help to address these, Public Health South health promotion adviser and Coda member Sophie Glover said.
“All parents want the best for their kids and we’ve heard from parents they would like a little more support with how to deal with alcohol and their teenagers,” Ms Glover said.
Peer pressure was not limited to teenagers and it was easy for parents to feel pressured to supply alcohol because they believed other parents were doing so, she said.
The Plan would help support parents to delay teen drinking.
It would give parents the tools and resources to have the tough conversations around alcohol, Ms Glover said.
Adventure Development worker Julie Scurr said alcohol consumption was a risk to young people as it affected their brain development.
“There’s no safe limit,” she said.
Alexandra-based youth trust Puna Rangatahi was partnering with Coda to bring The Plan to parents and teenagers.
Puna Rangatahi lead youth worker Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay said it would provide clarity for parents on their responsibilities around teenage drinking.
“When we talk to parents, the concern they have is around what was consent, more understanding of active supervision, what is the law, understanding what is their responsibility and how do they do that right?” she said.
“We’re excited to be working with Coda to bring The Plan to our community to support our parents and our young people, our rangatahi.”