Every second teen is boozing: SAB

15 February 2012 - 02:21 By Canaan Mdletshe

One of every two teenagers in the average South African home drinks alcohol.

This statistic was released yesterday by SA Breweries director of corporate affairs and transformation Vincent Maphai at the launch of a programme to tackle the scourge of underage drinking.

"Half of teenagers consume alcohol in our country currently, and 50% of teenagers have admitted that at one point they were drunk," he said.

"Research has shown that 60% of pupils who drink alcohol perform badly at school because alcohol causes brain damage.

"Underage drinking is one of the most serious forms of alcohol abuse and has an overwhelmingly negative impact on South African society as a whole," Maphai said.

"We view this as unacceptable and so we have partnered with the government on a programme that we believe will effect real change among South Africa's youth," he said.

The programme, You Decide,involves school visits, road shows, curriculum-aligned lesson plans for teachers, a practical guide for parents, resources for teenagers including counselling, a website and Facebook page, a teen ambassador programme and an advanced reality game for 60 players.

Maphai told pupils from schools in Phoenix, Durban, not to emulate singer Whitney Houston, who died on Sunday, allegedly after consuming prescription drugs and alcohol.