ALCOHOL AND YOUTH
Aim of the Project:
The aim of the project is to increase community awareness especially youth of the dangers of alcohol consumption at an early age. The project will involve the publication of a leaflet to educate both teenagers and parents as well as the owners of clubs/bars on the subject of the dangers of alcohol consumption by teenagers. Measurements of alcohol levels will be carried out by the Cyprus Police (on voluntary teenagers) outside clubs/bars together with a survey/questionnaire to give an indication of the drinking habits of teenagers.
In 2012, Cyprus will hold the EU Presidency. One of the subjects put forward by the EU countries to be tackled during this Presidency, under the heading of Health, will be the problem of alcoholism in some of the European countries.
In Cyprus, we have not had a drink problem so far but there are clear indications of an increase in social drinking amongst our youth. This is clearly apparent from the large number of bars which have opened in recent years, where the young, ages 16 upwards hang out.
It is no secret that overindulgence in alcohol can cause the following serious health problems:
- Social drinking leads to addiction later in life
- Irreversible liver damage – cirrhosis
- It can be a gateway to other substance abuse – drugs
- Poor judgment and alcohol-induced delirium leading to fights, driving accidents especially bike accidents. But also vulnerability to theft, assault, rape, pregnancy when under the influence of alcohol.
- Release inhibitions – increase in teen pregnancies in some countries partially attributed to alcohol consumption
- Can lead to increase in crime
- Missing classes
- Habitual drinking is harmful to fetus during pregnancy
Research has shown that the human brain continues to develop into the early 20’s with exposure to alcohol having the following effects:
- long lasting effects on intellectual capabilities and permanent brain damage, leading to poor memory, depression, and violent behavioral problems.
- Research has shown that the age when drinking starts affects future drinking problems. For each year that the start of drinking is delayed, the risk of later alcohol dependence is reduced.
- Teenagers don’t just drink but drink to excess and binge drink. In some countries surveys have shown that as many as 50% of high school children drink alcohol systematically
- The youth of today feels peer pressure, with the need to excel academically and socially together with a feeling of invincibility which can easily lead to alcohol dependence.
- Car and bike crashes are the leading cause of death amongst youngsters up to the age of 20. Statistics show that drinking drivers aged 16 to 20 are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as drinking drivers who are 21 or older.
- Teen drinkers have been shown to be more likely to engage in risky sexual activities
- Studies carried out in schools in the EU recently showed the relationship between binge drinking and grades where those who had low grades were those who reported binge drinking
- Consumption of alcohol by young mothers during pregnancy leads in effect to the consuming of alcohol by the baby, which in turn can affect its brain development with catastrophic results including mental retardation and behavior.
In Cyprus, we do not have any statistics on the consumption of alcohol by teenagers.
Cyprus has a high level of alcohol related serious and fatal accidents each year which are attributed to drink/driving. This has been reduced with extensive campaigns by the police including roadside breathalyzer testing, testing outside clubs late at night, reducing the permitted blood alcohol level for drink/driving in 2008 and by education the population on the dangers of drinking and driving.
In Cyprus, it is easy for youth to obtain alcohol. Many clubs promote alcohol consumption by giving free drinks with those sold, thereby promoting habitual drinking. There is little indication that there is any age control regarding the consumption of alcohol on the premises or those being sold alcohol, despite the existing regulation which forbids the sale of drink below 16.
Reducing teenage drinking will certainly reduce drinking-related harm
The Project will involve:
- The preparation of 5000 leaflets regarding the dangers of the regular drinking of alcohol. The leaflet will send a clear message to youth/parents/club and bar owners that it’s simply not okay to drink (or provide) beer, wine and alcohol products to youngsters.
- The Distribution of the leaflets to schools, homes, outside clubs/bars and areas frequented by teenagers.
- Preparation of Stickers for cars and bikes
- Preparation of Questionnaire/Survey.
- Questionnaire/Survey to be carried out in schools public and private
- Questionnaire/Survey to be carried out outside clubs/bars together with alcohol breathalyzer measurements by the Cyprus Police.
Partners: Rotary Club of Nicosia
Nicosia Rotaract Club – Youth will play a key role in the campaign – youth must be a powerful stakeholders in the effort to combat underage drinking.
Cyprus Police – measurement of alcohol levels from teenagers outside clubs.
Funding: Printing of leaflets and stickers 500 euros. Preparation and carrying out of Survey by private firm – 2000 euros. Assistance with breathalyzer measurements – 1000 euros . Total – 3500 euros
Finally, the health dangers of habitual alcohol consumption from a young age have so far been of little concern in Cyprus. It is reminiscent of a similar unawareness 15 years ago with drugs which resulted in the tremendous drug problem we see today. We hope we can get funding for this project so that we can bring the subject and dangers to light before the problem becomes a serious one.
Alkyonides Nest Project
The Alkyonides Society rent an apartment in Central London for families of persons (namely children) who are sent to London for special treatment of serious illnesses (usually cancer). The Government only covers the expenses of treatment and costs of accommodation in London are v high.
Each year the Alkyonides host more than 24 families at a rental cost of 35000 pounds. As it is impossible to fund the purchase of such a property, this project will assist in this years rental expenses.
Partners: Rotary Club of Nicosia, Rotaract Club of Nicosia, Alkyonides Society
Fundraising: Barbeque Party – raised 2000 euros
Dinner/dance: Beach party in Protaras at the Cavo Mari Hotel in the summer
Medical Van for Gynaecological Examination
Women in villages around Cyprus come into Nicosia and other hospitals in order to have their annual pap test. Many come by bus but do not get seen as they have to return with the bus.
Medical Van for Gynaecological Examination Project: Purchase a Medical van with bed and ultrasound equipment. Give talks on HPV vaccination. Ministry of Health will provide the doctor and driver for van. Doctor will examine women, do ultrasound testing, take samples for PAP test and give advice on HPV .
Partners: Rotary Club of Nicosia, Rotaract Club of Nicosia, Business and Professional Womens Association (ΚΟΓΕΕ) Cyprus
Fundraising: Music show with a singer from Greece
Alzheimers Day Centre
Now extended to the Lythrodonta area, thereby covering the local villages in the area. Further project in this area is planned this Rotary year
– a fashion show RC Nicosia, RC Nicosia Aspelia, Rotaracts Clubs of Nicosia and Nicosia Aspelia, Inner Wheel
– a film premier in the pipeline for fundraising
Vintage Car Rally with sponsors in order to raise money for the purchase of heart monitoring equipment – together with Rotary Club of Nicosia – Ledra. Assistance of Rotaract Club of Nicosia with their fundraising projects.
Christmas party with presents for the children at the Makarios Hospital Playcentre. The Rotary Club built the playcentre in 2000-2001 on the roof of the hospital joining the childrens medical ward with the surgical ward and provides an area for children to play when not restricted to their beds but also a place for parents who stay by their children to rest.
Outing/ barbecue in the mountains with the children from the Home – Paidiki Stegi