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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Caribbean Studies Research Paper, 2010 Name: Nicole Broomes School: Harrison College Teacher: Mr. A. Toppin School Code: 030014 Candidate Number: 0300140347

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Title Page
The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Nicole Broomes

Harrison College

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Page of Contents
Topic Page Acknowledgements........................ 4 Introduction:
- Background............................... - Purpose of the Research................

5 5

- Problem Statement ...................... 5 - Statement of the Problem.............. 5 - Educational Value....................... 6 -Definition of Terms .................. .. 7

Literature Review............................ 8 Data Collection Sources................... 12 Presentation of Findings.................. 13 Interpretation of Findings................ 20 Discussion of Findings.................... 24 Conclusion....................................... 28 Limitations....................................... 28 Recommendations.......................... . 29 Bibliography.................................... 31 Appendix......................................... 32
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Acknowledgements
I would first like to thank the National Council on Substance Abuse for providing me with access to their archives to gather information which was relevant to the topic being studied. I would like to express my appreciation to the thirty participants comprising the sample for this research, all of whom returned the survey. I would also like to thank my teacher, Mr. Andy Toppin, for his time and guidance throughout this project. I also want to thank my mother for providing me with assistance and support in this study. Finally, I would like to thank God for allowing me to remain focused and giving me the will and endurance to ensure that this project was successful.

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Introduction Background
According to National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA), alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among young people in Barbados. Ethyl alcohol, the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks, is a drug that acts as a depressant. Despite this fact, a survey conducted in 2006 by Mr. Jonathan Yearwood, Research and Information Officer at NCSA in collaboration with the Inter- American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) indicated that 45.9% of the respondents both male and females aged 17 and over consumed alcohol on a monthly basis. In addition, the mean age of first overall use for alcoholic beverage was 10.8 years for both females and males.

Purpose of the Research


As a result of this background, the author would like to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of a sample of sixth form students at Harrison College to the use of alcohol. The problem is in dire need of attention by the educational and health authorities because it can have terrible repercussions on these adolescents and hence the future of Barbados.

Problem Statement
Investigating the knowledge and attitudes of a sample of sixth formers to alcohol use

Statement of the Problem


This paper seeks to investigate the extent of the knowledge and attitudes to alcohol use of sixth form students who are between the ages of 16 and 19. Thorough research has revealed that during the past decade, there has been a surge in alcohol consumption by
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

adolescents. It was also determined that that an increase in age resulted in a corresponding increase in the amount of alcohol being drunk by teenagers. This has turned out to be an international epidemic which must be studied carefully.

Research Questions
1. Why do these adolescents use alcohol? 2. How often do they drink alcohol? 3. What types of alcoholic drinks do they consume?

Educational Value
This study will raise awareness about alcohol use in adolescents in Barbados and hopefully minimise or eradicate its prevalence. It should also be useful to authorities in their efforts to stop this problem as it could lead to improved understanding as to why teenagers start to use alcohol and therefore determine the origin of this predicament. Finally, it may cause teenagers to reflect on their actions and understand why they consume alcohol.

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Definition of Terms
Alcoholism: addition to alcoholic drink Addition: a state of physiological dependence on the drug Alcohol: a colourless flammable liquid which is the intoxicating ingredient in drinks such as wine, beer and spirits CICAD: Inter- American Drug Abuse Control Commission Drug: any substance that alters the bodys actions and its natural environment Gateway Drug: a drug that is the first to be used in a progression of use whose consumption is statistically associated with the use of other drugs NCSA: National Council on Substance Abuse

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Literature Review
According to a pamphlet published by the National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) entitled Alcohol (n.d.), teenagers can become quickly addicted to alcohol because a young persons liver metabolises alcohol more rapidly than an adults. In a study undertaken by NCSA with the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) in 2006 named SIDUC Secondary School Survey teenagers use alcohol due to several factors which include it being popular and seeing friends using it. This enables them to build up a tolerance to the drug, requiring more and more alcohol to achieve the same effect. This is why it is vitally important that adolescents understand the dangers which consuming alcohol frequently can have on the body. In a report published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in the United States featured in the book Alcoholism by James D. Torr (2000) identifies alcohol as a gateway drug. According to this report, alcohol is the forerunner to marijuana and other illicit drug use by males whereas a combined use of tobacco and alcohol is the precursor for females. Referring to a study undertaken by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) in 1994 at Columbia University, it was discovered that more than 67% of adolescents who start drinking before age 15 end up using an illegal drug while 25% who postponed drinking until or older transition to use other drugs. Only 4% of those who never drank used other drugs. CASA found that children aged 12 to 17 who drink are 22.3 times more likely to smoke marijuana than those who did not and they are 50 times more likely to use cocaine. In relation to Barbados, the NCSA pamphlet also indicates that there are also negative societal effects from alcohol consumption which can be even more detrimental than those on the
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

body. Alcohol alters mood, behaviour, perception and impairs among other things, judgment. Therefore, this can lead to vandalism, crime and irresponsible sexual behaviour which increases the risk of contracting diseases such as HIV. In a study conducted by the NCSA from October 1999- July 2000 entitled Drug & Alcohol Use in Barbados, 29.2 % of respondents believed that alcohol was the most problematic drug. 88.6% of the respondents believed this was due to its easy accessibility and 68.6 % felt that this was due to its high social acceptance. Interestingly, 51.4% of respondents identified alcohol as a gateway drug that was associated with the future risk of using more dangerous drugs whereas 48.6% of respondents believed that the problems related to alcohol were due to the fact that it was not viewed as drug most likely as a result of its high social acceptance. This has serious consequences because according to the NCSA pamphlet, alcohol has several negative impacts on the body which include cirrhosis (hardening) of the liver, stomach cancer and death as substances which are classified as harmful drugs like marijuana. Another study conducted by the NCSA in 2003 in collaboration with several agencies including the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) entitled Drug Prevalence Survey for Secondary School Students discovered that the mean age of first use of alcohol by males was 11.2 years and for females 11.3 years. However according to the 2006 NCSA study SIDUC Secondary School Survey found that the mean age of first overall use for alcoholic beverages was 10.8 years for both females and males. In the NCSA study in Barbados undertaken in 2003, alcohol consumption among females was higher than males where females were at 78.6 % and males were at 78.4% with respect to lifetime prevalence. The 2006 NCSA survey also discovered and reinforced that females had a higher percentage than their male counterparts for lifetime prevalence at 77.5%

The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

versus 71.5% respectively. In another report from the United States by Lori M. Newman (2005) in the book Does Advertising Promote Substance Abuse? writes that alcohol advertising contributes to increased consumption by adolescents and acts as a major source of negative socialization for them. This occurs because teenagers are potential consumers of these products thus forming a large source of revenue for this industry. Hence, their reluctance to promote abstinence instead of moderate drinking by young people. Programmes established by companies like Budweiser who encourage the Buddy System to persuade young people not to drive drunk represents their lackadaisical attitude to youth drunkenness once that person does not drive. Many alcohol commercials relate alcohol consumption as the ritual to adulthood and maturity. Newman also indicates that these advertisements feature very healthy, youthfullooking and attractive celebrities such as television personalities and professional athletes. Thereby advertising links alcohol with attributes such as maturity and sexual satisfaction but it actually destroys these things. In an article published in the Daily Nation newspaper of May 16, 2008 entitled Being drunk to have sex in a publication from London, the author revealed that more females are consuming alcohol so that it makes easier for them to be more comfortable with engaging in sexual activity. If females in the United Kingdom are engaging in sex while under the influence, it follows that the same may occur in Barbados. This predicament is further complicated by the fact that in Barbados despite the legal age at which persons can buy alcohol is 16 years old; there is no legal drinking age in Barbados. There is no enforcement of the law if an under aged person buys alcohol and there are no penalties placed on those who sell alcohol to minors.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

According to an article in the Daily Nation newspaper of November 15, 2007 entitled Dont pass the bottle to minors, senior research officer with the National Task Force on Crime Prevention Kim Ramsay stated that Barbados needs to have a stipulated legal drinking age and there should also be a legislated age for purchasing alcoholic beverages, one that comes with harsh fines and jail for violators in order to curb this occurrence. These reports and statistics are important because they indicate that not only is alcohol abuse in teenagers on the increase but females are consuming a greater proportion of this drug than their male peers. As a result, it must be determined why there is an increase in the number of adolescents consuming alcohol especially the females.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Data Collection Sources


In order to investigate the knowledge and attitudes of a sample of sixth form students to the use of alcohol, data was collected from the National Council on Substance Abuse on the corner of James Street and Roebuck Street on the 12th. November, 2009. Newspaper articles were also accessed from the Nation Company. By the use of questionnaires, a survey was conducted. The use of questionnaires was felt to be the most appropriate method because it was believed that the sample would feel more comfortable and honest in answering the questions since they could remain anonymous and under pressure from an interview. The questionnaire for this project consisted of ten questions, six questions were targeted at the general population and the remaining four were directed at those which drink alcohol. The majority of the questions were close-ended so that the respondent had to just tick the appropriate response with three questions facilitated the participant to put in any additional information as he or she saw fit. A convenient and purposive sample was used to conduct the survey. The questionnaires were distributed among a sample of thirty sixth form students of Harrison College, fifteen females and fifteen males between the ages 17 and 19 from the period 17th. - 19th. February, 2010. All thirty questionnaires were returned.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Presentation of Findings
The sample size of the survey was 30 students of Harrison College and among these, there was an even distribution with 15 females and 15 males as respondents. The following question was asked to determine whether the participants drank alcohol or not and if they did the types of alcohol they consumed. A total of 25 out of 30 students (83.3%) stated that they drank alcohol. The various responses given are illustrated in Figure 1 below.

Figure 1

When asked about the frequency of their alcohol consumption, both groups of respondents gave varying responses since the students were allowed to choose multiple answers which are shown in Table 1 below.
Partying At a friends party Every Friday night Every Saturday night Everyday Special occasions Twice Once a a month month Whenever its available

Males

11

0
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Females 9

1
Table 1

The fourth question sought to determine why the respondents consumed alcohol and once again, the participants were given the option of providing more than one response. Once again, there was the dominant choice for the males and females was the same. The answers provided are diagrammatically represented in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2

Question five was open to all participants and it asked whether they considered alcohol a drug. The responses given by all the participants are shown in Figure 3 below.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Figure 3

The next question was directed towards those who do consume alcohol and it asked at what age they started to drink alcohol. The most frequent age was the same for the males and females which was 15 years. The various ages given are shown in Figure 4 below.

Figure 4

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

In question 7, the alcohol-drinking respondents were posed the question of whether they have ever been drunk. Therefore out of the 25 drinking participants, 9 (36.0%) have been drunk at least once and the other 16 (64.0%) have not and this is diagrammatically represented in Figure 5 below.

Figure 5

The eighth question was aimed at the total sample and consisted of 2 parts. The respondents were asked to indicate to what extent they believed that alcohol was dangerous to a persons health in which the choice of answers was scaled from 1 to 10 with 1 being little to no danger and 10 corresponded to being extremely dangerous and life-threatening. The answers received are shown in Figure 6 below.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Bar Chart showing Respondents' Belief of Degree of Health Risk posed by Alcohol
Number of Times Response Given

4.5 4

1 2 3 4

3.5
3 2.5

2
1.5 1 2 2 3

4
3 3 2

5
6

0.5
0

1 1

1 0
Males

0 1

0 0 1 0 Females Sex

1 1

7 8 9

10

Figure 6

The second part of this question required the participants to state what consequences or dangers, if any, are associated with alcohol consumption. It was open-ended thereby allowing them to indicate whatever they felt would be the most appropriate replies since more than one could have been written.

Bar Chart showing the Main Consequences of Alcohol given by Participants


Number of Times Response Given

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

9 7
4 2 2 2 3 3 1 3

2 1

1 1

Males

Females

Danger/ Health Risk


Figure 7

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

As the previous question, question 9 consists of 2 parts and was targeted to the general

population. It was asked to determine the participants knowledge about alcohol with respect to the legislation in Barbados. The first part of the question asked them if they knew whether or not there is a legal age for buying alcohol and the responses obtained are illustrated in Figure 8 below.

Figure 8

The second part of the question sought to find out if the respondents knew a legal drinking age was implemented in Barbados. The options chosen by the respondents are shown in Figure 9 below.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Figure 9

For the final question, 10, all the respondents were asked if they believed someone could become addicted to alcohol. The responses given by the participants are shown in Figure 10 below.

Figure 10

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Interpretation of Findings
From the data presented, it seems that the adolescents have a very high tolerance and positive attitude to the use of alcohol. This is shown in both groups where an overwhelming 83.3% of all the participants consumed alcohol. Only 20% of the males did not consume alcohol and an astounding 80% of these respondents drink alcohol on a regular basis. Shockingly enough, a surprising 86.7% of the females admitted to drinking alcohol whilst only 13.3% of them did not use it. As a result, the information used in the campaigns against alcohol use should be targeted towards the age range of the respondents which would be 17- 19 years of age. There must be a concerted effort on the part of the organisers of these campaigns to target females especially since this group has a higher use of this drug. The types of alcohol mainly consumed by both groups was light liquor which are alcoholic beverages with a low percentage per volume. It appears that most of these participants use this type of alcohol so that they do not get drunk but experience a slight change in their behaviour and mood. However, the males seemed to be more honest in selecting what types of alcohol they usually drink since 4 indicated that they do not distinguish between light and hard liquor which is alcoholic beverages with a high alcohol content and they just consume whatever type of alcohol is available at that time. 10 of females chose light liquor. Only 2 females admitted to drinking whatever type of alcohol was available and the other and the other reported to consuming equal amounts of both. When asked about the frequency of their alcohol use, both groups of respondents gave similar options with the 2 popular being the same for each which were when I go partying and when I go to a friends party. Therefore the participants seemed to be heavily influenced by their environment. This was seen by the responses given by 6 of the males and 3 of the females who

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

picked both of these choices. The reasons provided for the individuals alcohol consumption were very interesting as both sets indicated that the drinks tasting sweet or good was the dominant factor. This reflects the attitudes that these adolescents have to alcohol considering it as almost identical to soft drinks which are very popular due to their sweet taste. Despite this however, it appears that there is a combination of factors which influence why they drink alcohol. Two of such factors are seeing friends drink and it makes me feel good. As a result of this revelation, it appears that latent peer pressure and insecurity about themselves causes the participants to consume alcohol. Other reasons given were because Im mature and curiosity due to its prevalence in the media. This would suggest that drinking alcohol is seen as a sign of maturity which these individuals want to emulate. When asked if they believed that alcohol is a drug, the majority of participants stated that they did. This is surprising that they recognise alcohol as a drug but continue to use it. However 2 males and 1 female were unsure but 3 males and 1 female indicated that they do not think of alcohol as a drug. It was interesting to discover that 1 of the males who said no had indicated earlier that he does not drink any type of alcohol. It can then be assumed that since that there is a misunderstanding among adolescents about the classification of a substance as a drug, especially if they do not use it themselves, thus campaigns against alcohol use by teenagers requires clarification and emphasis placed on this substance as drug. The participants were then asked at what age they started to drink alcohol. Generally, the ages ranged from 10 to 17 years old. However, it was revealed that females had engaged in this activity at an earlier age than the males. 2 females indicated that they began to drink at age 10 but only 1 male had started at age 11. Therefore, something must be done to stop these young

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

females from their initiation into early alcohol use which may occur as a result of their adolescent desire to experiment with new and different things. The next question required the participants to state whether they have ever been drunk. There were some discrepancies which were recognised but there were not from the females as expected but the males surveyed. 3 of the 6 males who stated that they have been inebriated had earlier indicated that they only consumed light liquor. These types of beverages are not solely capable of causing drunkenness and therefore give the impression that they drink stronger types of alcohol than they are willing to admit. When asked about the dangers of alcohol to a persons health and the degree of this danger, there were several inconsistencies presented by some of the respondents. Among the responses given about the dangers were liver damage, unprotected sex, memory loss, death, use of harder drugs like marijuana and impaired judgment, 60% rated the degree of this danger from 1 to 6. 2 non-alcohol drinking participants, 1 male and 1 female rated the danger at 3 and 5 respectively. Only 6.7% of the individuals rated alcohol dangers at 10. What was interesting to note is that both of them were non-drinkers, 1 male and the other female. Despite the fact that 33.3% of these individuals had indicated that they have been drunk and personally experiencing the effects of alcohol, the highest number chosen was 5 which was selected by the 2 females and 1 male. This seems to suggest that the participants are knowledgeable about the physical harms of alcohol to the body and health but they are still refusing to think of alcohol as dangerous as substances classified as illegal drugs like marijuana. Teenagers just think of alcohol use as a social pastime. The following question revealed that there are several misconceptions about the existence of a legal purchasing and drinking age for alcohol in Barbados. The majority of

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

respondents believe that both exist in the country with 80% and 73.3% of them think that each exists respectively. Since there is no stipulated legal drinking age in Barbados, this implies that there is a belief that the purchasing and drinking age are one and the same and that the campaigns against alcohol use by teenagers must distinguish between the two. For the final question, the participants were asked to state whether they think that someone can become addicted to alcohol. 93.3% of the males indicated that they believed a person can get addicted to it and 6.7% did not think so. Among the females, 86.6% of them thought so, 6.7% said no and the other 6.7% were unsure. These latter 2 females were both of those who had previously stated that they have been drunk. The most surprising thing about this answer was that this lone participant was 1 of the males who do not consume alcohol. These 3 participants may represent a larger group of persons in society who are aware of the dangers of alcohol use but choose to ignore them. If this is so, then the government has the very complicated task of changing these persons attitudes and behaviours with respect to alcohol use.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Discussion of Findings
Regarding the findings of the survey, it would appear that there is relatively high rate of alcohol use, with 83.3% of the sample admitting to having used this drug. This contradicts the findings put forward by the NCSA which stated that alcohol was the most problematic drug with 29.2% prevalence in Barbados. Therefore this could suggest that as the years have passed by, alcohol has become an extremely prevalent and popular drug in the country as indicated by this survey. This could have been as a result of the sample size being smaller than that for the NCSA and thus this study might be giving different results to a larger study conducted by the NCSA. Firstly, there was consensus that alcohol is indeed at a gateway drug which leads to the use of stronger drugs such as marijuana. This was indicated by 1 female respondent which suggest that some of the participants have tried illegal drugs but are unwilling to admit to partaking in such an activity thus supporting the findings released by Torr. With regards to the prevalence of alcohol use, there was a slightly greater percentage of females than males using this drug as shown in the literature. This was supported by the findings of the survey conducted, where 86.7% of the females and 80% of the males saying that they did. This clearly demonstrates that more and more females are consuming alcohol than their male peers. The surveys conducted by the NCSA in 2003 and 2006 also showed this trend of more females consuming alcohol than males with figures of 78.6% versus 78.4% and 77.5% versus 71.5% respectively. When the respondents were asked about why they consume alcohol, it showed that peer pressure was a major factor in the decisions made to use alcohol, especially among the females. In addition, curiosity and sense of maturity were indicated as responses, thereby correlating to the findings released by Newman as reasons why adolescents consume this drug.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Only 13.3% of the sample did not think of alcohol as a drug. This contradicts the findings of the NCSA survey which revealed that 48.6 % of the respondents did not think of alcohol as a drug. Therefore, this seems to suggest that the adolescents are becoming more knowledgeable about alcohol as a drug but more must be done to ensure that all teenagers realize the classification of alcohol as a legal drug like tobacco. The earliest age at which participants started to drink alcohol was indicated as 10 years by 2 females and 11 years for 1 male. This shows general agreement with the statistics released by the NCSA but they had both groups having the same age of 10.8 years. Therefore with respect to decreasing age, this may result from the fact that as the years progress, children are starting to consume alcohol at a younger age or that in the past, these younger children were not targeted to be a part of the sample population since they are the age of primary school children who have not yet reached adolescence and it is believed that alcohol consumption usually starts after a child enters secondary school. It was revealed that there is a high level of knowledge among the participants about the dangers of alcohol use on the body. Irresponsible sexual behaviour, cirrhosis of the liver and death were some of the answers given by the respondents which support the literature released by the NCSA. Despite this, 36.0% of the sample stated that they have been drunk at least once in their lifetime. This suggests that alcohol use is not seen in a negative light like illegal drug use and thus adolescents have no problem using large quantities of it at one time. 50% of the males who said that they have been inebriated claimed to use light liquor only which cannot be solely used to cause drunkenness. This indicates that despite the fact that males are willing to admit to drinking alcohol, the majority of them want to give the impression that they only drink light liquor.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Unprotected sex was also cited by 1 female and 1 male participant as consequences of alcohol use. Therefore, this can be interpreted as that these 2 persons might have been involved in some kind of sexual act after consuming large amounts of alcohol without directly admitting to being a part of such an event. On close examination of the answers provided about Barbadoss legal stance on alcohol use, it was shown that there are many misconceptions about the ages at which people can purchase and consume alcohol. 73.3% of the sample believed that a legal drinking age was stipulated by the government but this does not exist. Thus, the authorities must ensure that one is legislated. This shows therefore that the government must regard curtailing alcohol use by teenagers as important as doing the same for tobacco use. In the Barbados Advocate newspaper on 23 December, 2009, this view was put forward by Opposition Senator Elizabeth Thompson during the Health Services (Amendment) Bill 2009. She stated that if the Government wanted to deal with issues of substance abuse, alcohol consumption must be considered. She was of this opinion since she believed that there was an increasing incidence of alcohol consumption amongst young people in the society at ages 12, 13 and 15. Senator Thompson also cited that through her observations that teenagers were now using rum, whisky and vodka blends which have a sweet taste but high alcohol content. This was revealed by the findings of this survey in which the dominant reason for both sets of respondents drinking alcohol was due to the drinks sweet taste. Finally, the majority of respondents believed that someone can get addicted to alcohol. However, the remaining answers show that there is uncertainty and doubt as to whether this can occur. This strongly suggests that the explanation of how alcohol can do this, as provided in the NCSA pamphlet, must be circulated more frequently so that full understanding of alcohols

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

effects is achieved. This group of participants represents a larger number of adolescents in society who have a lackadaisical attitude to alcohol use and thus the task of the government changing these attitudes is very difficult.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Conclusion
The findings of this survey reveal that there is a serious problem with alcohol use by adolescents in Barbados which is increasing especially with respect to the females. The data shows that some persons have a lackadaisical attitude to alcohol despite the fact that the majority of them classify it as a drug and there are several misconceptions about the legal position of the government on alcohol relating to teenagers. Thus, there is a disparity between their knowledge and actions. Despite this fact, this shows that the media campaigns about the effects of alcohol are effective. The findings also show that peer pressure is a significant factor to adolescents using alcohol because a large number of participants indicated that they consume alcohol whilst partying or being at a friends party. It was also remarkable to note that teenagers are extremely knowledgeable about the physiological and societal consequences of alcohol to the body but there is wide consumption to the extent that some people even becoming drunk at least once.

Limitations The survey had some disadvantages such as it was a very time-consuming process and only a small sample size which was easily accessible to the researcher was used rather than a larger sample which would have produced a better generalisation of the population about their knowledge and attitudes to alcohol use by adolescents. Furthermore, the survey did not seek to determine whether there might be a link between socio-economic status and alcohol use since the respondents were not asked about their class backgrounds. Another limitation was related to the surveys conducted by the NCSA. The last one on this topic was conducted in 2006 and as a result, this research paper had to rely on outdated
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

statistics. Therefore the NCSA must conduct more surveys so that they can accurately determine whether peer pressure could be majorly responsible for national increase in alcohol consumption by adolescents. This would allow the authorities to figure out if they should change aspects of their campaign strategies to combat this predicament in Barbados. Integrating these changes may give the authorities better clear understanding as to why teenagers especially females are using alcohol and thus uncover whether a rising trend in alcohol use and how to fight against it.

Recommendations To tackle the issue of alcohol use is difficult because of several factors some of which are society based. These include the industrys sponsorship of many cultural and popular events as well as its high societal acceptance with it being used at celebratory occasions such as weddings and parties which children frequent with their parents from a very young age. Alcohol use is directly linked to destroying the health of Barbados youth and when used in combination with other drugs such as marijuana can lead to suicide, homicide and other crimes like vandalism. There are some preventative measures that can be taken to decrease alcohol use. As suggested by opposition Senator Elizabeth Thompson, there must be legislation enacted to allow people to know all the stipulations placed on alcohol consumption by teenagers. For instance, a legal drinking age of 18 and an increase in the legal purchasing age to 18 from 16 should be implemented so that only those who have reached the age of majority gain this privilege along with others like earning the right to vote. Next, in light of the fact adolescents are aware of the dangers of alcohol to health but still consume large amounts of it shows that authorities such as the NCSA must create new
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

strategies to decrease its appeal and censorship committees could be established to monitor the number of alcohol advertisements that appear on the television especially during times when childrens programmes are showing. This is vital because alcohol is a gateway drug that usually leads to the use of illegal drugs like marijuana. Finally, the government should make drug education mandatory in all levels of schooling to heighten the severity of all drugs especially legal ones like alcohol and tobacco. Clubs could also be introduced into the secondary schools to educate the students about all the dangers associated with alcohol use by using group discussions and open forums. The parentteacher associations already existing in the school system could be used to educate the parents about their use of alcohol around their children since they usually emulate the behaviours exhibited by their parents. This will also enable them to identify signs of alcohol abuse by their children.

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Bibliography
1. Daily Mail Reporter. (2008, May 16). Being drunk to have Sex. Daily Nation 2. Kent, M. (2000). Advanced Biology. Oxford, England : Oxford University Press 3. Newman, L.M. (ed.) (2005). At Issue Drugs- Does Advertising Promote Substance Abuse?. San Diego, California, United States of America: Greenhaven Press (Thomas Gale) 4. Sealy, D. (2007). Dont Pass the Bottle to Minors. [Online]. Available: http://archive.nationnews.com/archive_detail.php?archiveFile=2007/November/15/Local News/48710.xml&start=0&numPer=20&keyword=teen+and+alcohol+abuse&sectionSea rch=&begindate=1%2F1%2F1994&enddate=3%2F17%2F2010&authorSearch=&Include Stories=1&pubsection=&page=&IncludePages=1&IncludeImages=1&mode=anyword&a rchive_pubname=Daily+Nation%0A%09%09%09 5. Torr, J.D. (ed.) (2000). Alcoholism. San Diego, California, United States of America: Greenhaven Press Inc. 6. Yearwood, J. (2000). Drug & Alcohol Use in Barbados. Bridgetown, Barbados 7. Yearwood, J. (2003). Drug Prevalence Survey for Secondary School Students. Bridgetown, Barbados 8. Yearwood, J. (2006). SIDUC Secondary School Survey. Bridgetown, Barbados

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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

Appendix Caribbean Studies Survey


This questionnaire is part of a study on alcohol consumption among sixth form students at a secondary school. The results of this questionnaire will be confidential. Thank you for your co-operation. 1. Sex Male [ ] Female [ ] 2. Do you drink any type of alcohol? If yes, please indicate below Yes [ ] No [ ] Hard Liquor Only [ ] Examples: whisky, scotch, rum etc. Equal Amounts of Both [ ] Light Liquor Only [ ] Examples: rum& coke, Bacardi, beer, Twist, Smirnoff Ice etc. Dont Distinguish [ ] Drink whatever is available

3. How often do you drink? (More than one can be selected) When I go partying [ ] When I go to a friends party [ ] Every Friday night [ ] Every Saturday night [ ] Once a month [ ] Other, please specify below [ ] _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 4. Why do you drink? (More than one can be selected) Friends drink [ ] To be popular [ ] Makes me feel good [ ] Drinks taste sweet/ good [ ] Curiosity [ ] Because I think Im mature/grown-up [ ] Family influence [ ] Looks sophisticated [ ] Push in advertising which shows young people who drink look attractive [ ] Other, please specify below [ ] ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________

5. Do you think that alcohol is a drug? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Unsure [ ]
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The Knowledge and Attitudes of a Sample of Sixth Form Students at Harrison College to the Use of Alcohol

6. How old were you when you started to drink? Age: ____ years old 7. Have you ever been drunk? Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure [ ] Definition of being drunk: affected by alcohol to the extent of losing control of oneself 8a.To what extent do you think that drinking alcohol is dangerous to your health? Scale 1-10 where 1: little to no danger and 10: extremely dangerous and life-threatening 1[] 2[] 3[] 4[] 5[] 6[] 7[] 8[] 9[] 10 [ ] b. What are some of the dangers of drinking alcohol? (More than one can be written) ____________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________ 9a. Do you know whether there is a legal age for buying alcohol in Barbados? Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure [ ] b. Do you know whether there is a legal drinking age in Barbados? Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure [ ] 10. Do you think that someone can become addicted to alcohol? Yes [ ] No [ ] Unsure [ ]

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