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alcohol health alliance uk

New NHS publication on young people and alcohol

Posted 27/07/10

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “It is extremely encouraging that the number of young people choosing not to drink has once again increased, despite the North East continuing to have the highest drinking rates in England.

However, we know that young people who are drinking alcohol are drinking large amounts. This needs to stop.

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. 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.

Price, promotion and availability are the key issues here. As is parental influence.

Parents 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.

Government also needs to take responsibility and implement change. We have created a society where 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.”