Progress made on teen alcohol issues

St Helens' rate of alcohol related hospital admissions is above the national average
St Helens' rate of alcohol related hospital admissions is above the national average

THE rate of alcohol related hospital admissions for teenagers in St Helens is double the national average, stark figures have revealed.

But town hall’s health experts have said real progress is being made to improve the situation throughout the borough.

A number of programmes are in place to prevent harm and raise young people’s awareness of the risks of alcohol.

Director of public health Liz Gaulton

The figures form part of the town’s Joint Strategic Needs Assessment released by the St Helens public health team.

And the rate of alcohol related admissions for under 18s per 100,000 of the population stands at 80.7, the national average is 40.1 and the North West average is 60.4.

The borough’s director of public health assured residents that tackling alcohol related harm remains a priority.

Liz Gaulton said: “Although alcohol related hospital admissions for under 18s in St Helens remains above the national average – numbers have fallen significantly over recent years.

“Encouraging figures from the 2015 Trading Standards North West survey on alcohol and tobacco shows that 50 per cent of the 14-17 year olds in St Helens who completed it state that they never drink alcohol.

“This percentage has more than doubled from when the survey was last completed in 2013 and is above the North West average of 46 per cent.

“In addition to this, there have been reductions in the percentage of 14 to 17 year olds in St Helens who report drinking more than twice a week, with just seven per cent reporting this compared to 11 per cent in 2013.”

The report also reveals that the rate of smoking attributable death in St Helens (355.1 per 100,000) is significantly higher than the national average (288.7).

And that the borough has varying levels of life expectancy depending on location, for example residents in Rainford have a life expectancy of 82.4 but the level for town centre residents drops to 71.7.

Also, the winter mortality rate is 10 times higher in Rainhill than in Thatto Heath.

Ms Gaulton added: “With the help of partner agencies such as Merseyside Police, trading standards and education services, a number of programmes are in place to prevent harm and raise young people’s awareness of the risks of alcohol.

“One example of this targeted outreach in the area, where the Young People’s Drug and Alcohol workers and partner agencies target hotspot areas in the borough and speak directly to the young people about risk-taking behaviour.

“As well as providing education and advice sessions in local schools and colleges, Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAAT) have also delivered sessions to parents in conjunction with the Alcohol Education Trust to support parents to talk to their children about alcohol – with more planned in the future.”

For more information about alcohol, you can contact either Addaction on 01744 766210 or St Helens Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAAT) on 01744 675605.