Pubdate: Sat, 01 Jun 2002
Source: Hamilton Spectator (CN ON)
Copyright: The Hamilton Spectator 2002
Author: Mike Constable


RE: 'Police adopt get-tough policy on bush parties' (May 24). I feel that 
the perspective of Halton's youths must be presented.

The police program under question intends to get tough on bush parties in 
Halton by adopting a "zero tolerance approach toward underage drinking." 
However well intended this approach is, it seems to miss its mark.

Fining Halton's teens will not stop the problem of underage drinking and 
drug use, nor will it expose the root of the problem. These activities seem 
to be a manifestation of deeper social problems among youths.

Recent reports indicate high drug rates among teens in Halton, including 
the rise of chemical drug use.

Other sources show that vandalism and graffiti are also on the rise.

A lack of youth-oriented activities may be a large factor in these cases. 
Halton does not have many facilities designed to occupy youths, so teens 
have to entertain themselves.

Coffee shops and malls often discriminate against youths, giving them time 
limits, or requesting to see that they have money before purchase. Malls 
are just too expensive, as are the movie theatres.

Concerts are often a break from the mundane, but are held infrequently, 
partly because of the high price.

It seems that Halton's tax dollars would be better spent creating a youth 
drop-in centre encouraging teen involvement, such as Kitchener and Sudbury 
have had for some time.

While it is true that many youths are hesitant to participate in 
adult-organized activities, there is a direct correlation between these 
centres and decreased drug use, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted 
diseases among teens. A centre would give Halton's teens an alternative to 
bush parties and drugs.

Using Band-Aid solutions such as increasing fines, or paying police 
officers to hang out at possible party sites, will not address the issue of 
underage drinking, but will just drive bush parties farther into the bush.

Mike Constable

- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth