Melbourne: Alcoholism is so rampant among Australian youngsters that girls as young as 11 get into prostitution just for a couple of cans of beer, a report by Sydney's Odyssey House revealed.
The annual report said children as young as 10 were being admitted to Odyssey's treatment program for alcohol abuse.
According to Sydney youth campaigner and head of Youth Off the Streets, Father Chris Riley, it was not surprising that the report showed that kids as young as 10 were abusing alcohol. Father Riley said that his personal experiences helping troubled kids were echoed in the report.
"In some of the communities we're working in at 9.30 in the morning, 12- (and) 13-year-olds have bottles of Jack Daniels in their hands, and it is just shocking the way these things are available to kids," news.com.au quoted Father Riley, as saying.
He added: "In one of our communities we work in, a group of girls aged between 11 and 16 go down to the bars and clubs at 1am, because that is when they will close, and will prostitute themselves simply for a can or two of beer. This is common throughout the communities we're working in."
"We're opening more and more liquor outlets, more and more access to alcohol... and we just don't get it, we just keep making it more available," said Father Riley.
"These kids can get access to alcohol whenever they want, and that is just not good enough,” he added.
He supported product labelling that warn kids about the dangers of drinking and called for alco-pops to be banned.
"I keep saying: 'Let's put labels on alcohol products saying that alcohol does brain damage to adolescents'," he said.
He added, "Let's take away those alco-pops which are targeting teens. Kids don't like the taste of alcohol, they like the effects that alcohol has on them, but they can get an alcoholic drink that tastes like a soft drink."