Friday, September 21, 2007

A Generation Out of Control?

You could nearly write the script:

- the number of deaths in their age group from overdoses of illicit drugs is up 550 percent per capita since 1975

- they are 30 percent more likely to be at risk from fatal accidents and suicides than any other age group

- the numbers in their age group in prison are up 600% since 1977

- they are twice as likely to binge drink (consuming five or more drinks on one occasion in the previous month) than any other age group

- there has been a 200 percent leap in drugs and drinking-related offenses per capita in their age group since 1975

- more than half of all new H.I.V./AIDS diagnoses in 2005 were in this age group, up from less than one-third a decade ago

Who are they? Junior cert celebrants on a bender? Coke snorting students? Cider heads binging in a nearby field? Actually, none of the above: the statistics relate to 35-54 year olds in the United States. That's my generation (and possibly yours - or your parents - too). What an example to set the children.

And possibly a lesson for all those finger-waving journalists, commentators and world improvers ready to indulge in a moral panic everytime a YouTube video shows an Irish youth doing something they disapprove off. Glass houses and all that.

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