A large part of the youth experience is enjoying yourself. The young like to party. This has been true for many decades, across many cultures, both in rich countries and in poor countries. However, what is more worrying than ever is the increasing number of ways young people are at risk when partying. It is not just inexperience that make young people easy prey to dangerous influences, it is also the increasingly intoxicating ways that it is possible to party that places young people at more risk than ever before.
In the 1960s there was marijuana and acid and the ’moral majority’ feared for the virginity and the mental health of their children. Those children have now grown up, and oalthough there were many train wrecks the majority are educated, settled and doing well in society.
In the 1990s adults feared for their children’s safety because of ecstasy. Now in the second decade of the Twenty-first Century there is a mind blowing array of drugs for young people to try ranging from naturally derived cannabis to synthetic drugs such as ketamine and GHB. The latter is the date rape drug.
Now all young people, and especially young women, should never accept drinks from strangers and should never leave their drink unattended. The result can be life ruining. Addiction takes a while to develop, but it only takes one date rape experience to scar a person for life.
The party is glorified by the rave and massive outdoor beach parties such as the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan. It is great to meet new people and to feel the excitement of loving music and dancing madly to your favroite tune. There is nothing wrong with over-indulgence and puking up. However, what young people must be aware of is the safety net. They must be with friends, people they trust. And one of them must remain conscious enough to help the others.It is not a great safety net but it is better than nothing. Also when with friends often good council is given to those thinking are doing something really stupid – liking jumping off a bridge.
We learn through our experiences, it is just hoped that young people partying don’t get permanently dragged down into insanity, addiction, mental problems or physical harm by their partying antics.