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alcohol health alliance uk

Don't wait till it's too late- talk to children about dangers of alcohol

Posted 20/07/11

Colin Shevills, Director at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “Underage drinking carries serious repercussions so it is vital that parents talk to children about alcohol from an early age. It is simply too late to wait until a child gets drunk before having the conversation.

“The survey demonstrates that many parents are unaware that their child has encountered alcohol – in this instance ignorance is not bliss. As well as health risks, underage drinking leaves young people vulnerable and can result in poor judgement and risky situations. Alcohol should not be making critical decisions for young people as all too often this can lead to fights, one-night stands and the resulting STD or unwanted pregnancy or an evening in A&E.

“Parents are the major influencer and they need to lead by example – a teenager who has seen his or her parent drunk is twice as likely to get drunk themselves. However, we know that the vast majority of parents across the North East take their responsibilities very seriously when it comes to their children - four in five parents in the region agree that adults should never drink too much in front of children.

“Despite having the highest drinking rates in England, more young people are choosing not to drink. This must continue and for this to be achieved, we must prepare young people with the confidence and knowledge necessary to make an informed decision, long before they find themselves in a situation involving alcohol.

“It’s important to add that the onus cannot lie solely with parents. Government also needs to take responsibility. Alcohol is too available, too heavily promoted and is sold at pocket money prices – all of which are heavily contributing to the issue. It’s time for Government to show leadership and take responsibility instead of creating a generation which views excessive drinking as perfectly normal.”