Pregnancy, Alcohol, Poverty: British Culture Needs A Serious MakeoverFebruary 22, 2010 No Comments
The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Western Europe and the government is constantly putting money into sex education programs, birth control, and the like to help reduce this.
But I have a more radical (realistic?) idea on how to curb teenage pregnancy: the culture of alcohol and drinking in the UK is the real problem and this needs to be entirely restructured before there can be any hope in lowering the teen pregnancy rate.
A report was released by the National Health Service (NHS) that examined drinking and drug habits in English young people aged 11 to 15. They found that London had the lowest rates of alcohol consumption with an average of 11.3 units per week and it was highest in the North East with an average of 17.7 units.
The sad thing about this is that it was reported in such a matter-of-fact way that nobody seemed shocked. When I read this I was horrified! That is way too much alcohol for people so young.
It seems to me that if this is the norm then all of their socialising will revolve around alcohol and binge drinking. They will learn how to interact with the other sex when they are drunk and may not know what it is like to have a sober conversation.
Indeed, some reports have shown that half of British women prefer drunken sex and 1 in 20 have never had sex sober. Also, three out of four women like a couple of glasses of wine before sleeping with their boyfriend or husband and 14 percent say they need it.
If these women are average citizens then it makes sense that the 11 to 15-year-olds will grow up to become like this. An article recently revealed stats that girls of 10 are regularly getting pregnant in the UK.
It makes me sad that they rely so much on alcohol and don’t learn how to live without it or how to drink responsibly. Alcohol is not intrinsically evil, but people need to know how to use it in a healthy way.
With this kind of drinking culture in place it’s no wonder there is such a high rate of teenage pregnancy in the UK. Alcohol and sex are not a good combination. They are, however, a perfect grounds for forgetting to wear condoms and making bad decisions that lead to unwanted pregnancies. Combine that with the minds of teenagers who are still not fully developed and it is a disaster waiting to happen.
Poverty breeds poverty and teenage mothers are more susceptible to this than other people. This cycle will just continue until the Brits come to their senses and face it head on.
Sex education in schools is a wonderful amazing thing and it should be encouraged at all costs. But it is not going to make one iota of difference to the British teen pregnancy rates until the culture of drinking is addressed.
The only way pregnancy rates are going to be cut is to aggressively address alcohol abuse and teach young people to drink sensibly.
I think most British people aren’t willing to admit it or are blind to how big a problem this really is because to them it is just normal behaviour. And I’m not just talking about the teenagers’ drinking habits, I do mean the entire culture.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the pub culture. I love that pubs are on every corner and they often have that familiar and friendly atmosphere about them.
Of course alcohol has its time and place, but Brits need to stop resisting change and work to a healthier future and a healthier relationship with alcohol. This will not only benefit the health of the adults, but will allow the young people to have happy sexual lives without the burden of unwanted pregnancy and/or abortions.
So, my prescription for the UK? They need to wise up and accept that theirs is a culture where alcohol abuse is the norm and that this is not a good thing. And they must change their ways before there can be any hope for the young people to learn how to have happy, healthy sexual lives and only have children when and if they want them.