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LOS Cristianos can expect up to 17,000 spectators, as the last days of the town’s annual Carnival close in. But Arona Council is concerned that the Family Carnival Day tomorrow (Saturday) will, again, feature drugs and alcohol, consumed by hundreds of youngsters.
That has been the way of the Carnival’s “Family Day” for several years, and the Council, along with parents, are saying: “Enough is enough.”
With this in mind, Arona Council has been running a prevention-and-awareness campaign in the form of a workshop, which has been visiting Arona’s secondary schools.
Its representatives have been spelling out the dangers of consuming drugs and alcohol, and reinforcing the Council’s concern, using facts and figures.
Several surveys have been carried out on substance-and-alcohol abuse in secondary schools across Spain. And the data from these surveys show, in the Canary Islands, that 14 years is the average age when most teenagers start to experiment.
Alcohol in minors is the highest substance abuse, with figures relating to numbers in the Canaries reaching as high as 74.1%, which, though no consolation, is slightly lower than the 78.9% national average.
Arona’s Education Councillor, Leopoldo Diaz Oda, said: “Alcohol and substance abuse with minors is a very serious issue. Many of them become addicted, and everyone should take responsibility.”
He added: “The objectives of the campaign are to prevent alcohol consumption with teenage children, as well as raising awareness, and wanting to help these youngsters increase the ability to make their own, responsible decisions.”
Tomorrow (Saturday), there will be information stands spread out around Los Cristianos, and several volunteers will be handing out flyers, posters and badges, aimed, especially, towards the younger crowds. They will be offering important facts about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and they will, also, explain the truth about local myths. Many young teenagers believe that, with a strong coffee, or by making themselves vomit, the effects of alcohol disappear.
The information stands are also aiming at promoters and stall vendors, who sell alcohol to minors. They will be told about the serious problems they could face.
There will also be workshops set up, with volunteers from secondary schools, all focusing on giving information on possible, risky behaviour at the Carnival.
They will also be spelling out to young people the responsibilities involved with having sexual relations, along with the possible consequences.
And, in addition to speaking to people about the risks, the students will be told they should be promoting healthy behaviour at all the town’s fiestas.
The problem is, said one concerned mother: “The kids won’t pay a scrap of attention to what is being said. Many will be there for the fun, plus the drugs and booze.
“Sadly, there’s nothing that parents can do about it, unless we accompany them, every step of the way. If you are a parent, you will know that it just won’t happen.
“We dread these events, but it’s hard to tell a 15-year-old boy that he can’t go out with his mates. He’d be a laughing stock.”


Canary Islands


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