Take on binge drinkingThis year once again, university students are losing their lives due to alcohol. It’s an outrage.
Two freshmen, one from a university in Gangneung, Gangwon, and another from a university in Incheon, drank too much at their respective welcoming receptions. Both fell to their deaths.
The government and the universities have redoubled their efforts to create programs to prevent the frequent occurrence of alcohol-related accidents among freshmen that occur nearly every year.
But they have still failed to get to the root of the problem: drinking at universities.
It’s a somewhat bitter irony to note. We have relaxed the rules on drinking, but as a result we are driving young people to their deaths.
Jeon Jae-hee, the Minister for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, recently sent letters to university student councils around the nation asking that they join the government in working to prevent alcohol-related deaths.
The ministry is expected to offer subsidies to help universities launch campaigns to discourage drinking and prevent deaths.
However, the most important thing is to publicize detailed information about the damage done by alcohol.
In fact, given that many middle and high school students have so little information about responsible social drinking, but have already experienced drinking for themselves, we should not hesitate for even another minute.
It is urgent that we initiate a mandatory program to teach about the dangers of alcohol and smoking and the warning signs for students who are drinking, similar to existing sexual violence prevention programs.
Irresponsible drinking is a habit that could persist for a lifetime if it’s not dealt with early on.
We should teach our children how to be moderate drinkers at home and at school, so as to protect their health for the rest of their lives.
The damage caused by drinking could also have a harmful effect on society, as well as to individuals within it.
The social losses caused by alcohol-related diseases, such as the cost of increased health coverage, exceed more than 20 trillion won ($13 billion) per year.
The number of alcohol addicts nationwide is already one of the highest in the world.
We need to prevent more young people dying as a result of senseless drinking.