Faced with the fear that youths See this summer as an opportunity to compensate for all the restrictions and limitations suffered in a pandemic, the Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs of the Ministry of Health has financed the campaign ‘Are you missing a summer?’, which aims to warn of the danger of having euphoric attitudes and uninhibited behaviors with alcohol.
“We are approaching this summer with some anxiety, as if it were the milestone that certifies the end of the pandemic, and we are concerned about the collective, excessive and uncontrolled reaction of many young people with alcohol,” says Raúl Izquierdo, psychologist and technical director DUAL Association, entity that has launched the campaign.
“We are talking about the fact that we could not fully enjoy last summer, we have not been able to celebrate Christmas, we have not been able to celebrate Holy Week, we have not been able to celebrate birthdays, or family or friends meetings, with which a a summer of lack of control, excess and euphoria that seems especially dangerous to us, ”warns Izquierdo.
“There is also a shared need to recover last summer and not miss the present summer. We all need vacations as a promised oasis of relaxation, of intranscendence, of festivity and, in our culture, we have a magic potion for these purposes which is alcohol ”, he adds.
Izquierdo expresses his concern about the modeling that adults can exert and the negative influence on minors. “Sometimes we adults don’t give the best of examples. (…) The social pressure for young people this summer to start or relapse into alcohol consumption is going to be enormous: much more intense; and reinforced by the media ”, he explains.
“At times, adolescents can come to perceive themselves as a segment of the population segregated from the rest in terms of the problems related to the pandemic, experiencing a false sense of infallibility,” laments the psychologist, who acknowledges that the pandemic has affected “Very intense” to teenagers. “Adolescence is the time when they are building their referents, their second family and they need to socialize as an imprint,” he says.
For his part, Joan Ramón Villalbí, Government delegate for the National Plan on Drugs (PNSD), advances that they are developing a regulatory change focused on the problems that alcohol poses to minors. “We want to promote environmental prevention so that it is less easy for minors to access alcohol,” he explains.
Villalbí expresses his desire that it respond to social demands and that it have the majority support of all groups. “The text we are working on comes from a request from the Courts where a presentation on alcohol and minors was approved, by general and transversal consensus,” he says.
In turn, the PNSD delegate indicates that underage alcohol consumption has decreased during the pandemic and defines the practice of drinking bottles as a “complex phenomenon” that poses many challenges. “The most preventive thing is that adolescents have interesting things to do and that they do not spend a lot of time without supervision,” he suggests, while recalling that in many countries it is forbidden to drink in the street outside the terraces of hotel establishments.
“As a society we must address the need to restrict the generalized consumption of alcohol trivially anywhere,” the PNSD delegate details. “You can drink at home, you can drink in a place, but it is not necessarily appropriate for people to drink everywhere,” Villalbí points out.
For this reason, he believes that it is necessary to examine some things that are now considered normal. “We have experienced this with tobacco: society has changed its position and young people have followed the change, tobacco consumption in adolescents has plummeted in the last 20 years; surely with alcohol, and with some illegal drugs, the same would happen ”, says the government delegate for the PNSD.
THE PAPER OF THE PARENTS
In this sense, the DUAL Association campaign is not only aimed at adolescents, but also focuses on the whole of society and highlights the prominent role that parents play in prevention. “Parents embody the natural and legal authority over their children and have to exercise it, the curfew does not replace our role as limiters of the leisure hours of our children,” recommends Raúl Izquierdo.
One of the advice of the DUAL Association psychologist is to anticipate the risks. “In summer contexts, they will receive very intense pressure to join in celebrating the summer, which is probably on everyone’s head,” he anticipates. “We must show restraint in recovering our degrees of freedom and set an example for our children,” he says.
It also advocates communication. “We must be reasonable, understanding and supportive, but if our son transgresses the rules, we must apply consequences.”
The launch of the DUAL Association campaign includes the collaboration of Mario Barbado, who at the rhythm of rap launches various messages related to the risk of anticipating the end of the pandemic and doing so, above all, by abusing alcohol. Especially explicit are those in which he questions the audience questioning “Are you changing the State of Alarm for the Law of the Bottle?” or “Do you have extra life or do you need a summer?”