Youth drinking alarm for Colac and district

A Deakin University program has revealed an alarming number of Colac bottle shops are allowing young people to buy alcohol without identification.

A Deakin University program has revealed an alarming number of Colac bottle shops are allowing young people to buy alcohol without identification.

The program involves young people, who are aged 18 to 22 but look underage, entering local bottle shops to attempt to buy alcohol without a valid ID.

Deakin revealed yesterday that a third of bottle shops in Colac failed to ask for ID from a young person, and allowed the young person to buy alcohol.

Deakin University’s Professor John Toumbourou said the program aimed to encourage whole communities to take responsibility for the sale of alcohol to young people.

Prof Toumbourou said details of the program were confidential to protect individuals, but liquor licence regulators had been notified about the results, which he hoped would push bottle shops to be more vigilant about asking young people for ID and test staff independently.

He said the program would continue in Colac, with the university monitoring the results and reporting to regulators.

“This is going to happen again,” he said.

The program is part of Communities that Care Colac’s efforts to curb teen drinking in the region, with 61 per cent of Barwon south-west residents aged between 12 and 17 reporting in a survey that it was “easy” or “very easy” to get alcohol.

“When we talk to families they often say they feel powerless to do anything about the problem of youth and alcohol because if the industry is not following the regulations, and parents are unsupported when they crack down and say no to their children; if they can simply go down to the shops and get it, that is disempowering,” Prof Toumbourou said.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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