Council chiefs have launched a new initiative to curb underage drinking.
St Helens Council’s Young People’s Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAAT) is inviting parents and guardians to demonstrate their commitment towards keeping young people safe from the effects of underage drinking and alcohol misuse - by making a personal pledge.
Research from a recent Trading Standards North West survey shows that the numbers of secondary school aged children across the North West choosing to use alcohol is in fact reducing. However, there have been a couple of local reports in St Helens recently of drunk youths having to be taken home by police after they were found to be drinking large quantities of alcohol in parks.
A small number of young people can start to experience difficulties as a result of alcohol use, which can lead to a number of unplanned, unwanted and serious consequences; including overdose - and can put young people in vulnerable situations that may require hospital treatment or police involvement. Young people who choose to drink alcohol are also at an increased risk of being a victim of crime, or committing a crime themselves.
With this in mind, YPDAAT is encouraging parents and guardians to show their support by following the ACE pledge which advises parents to Avoid giving alcohol to children (especially if aged under 15); to be Clued up about their children’s whereabouts at all times - and Educate their children about the risks of alcohol.
Coun Gill Neal, cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “With the festive season here, and house parties becoming more-and-more popular among our young people, we want to raise awareness of the advice given by Chief Medical Officers - that young people should avoid all alcohol until the age of at least 16, and that an alcohol free childhood is always the best option.
“We want to get as many parents as possible to sign the pledge and demonstrate how ACE they are when it comes to educating their children about underage drinking and alcohol misuse.
“I would also call on the general public, including parents, to be vigilant and not feel intimidated into purchasing alcohol for anyone underage. Sales of alcohol to or for anyone underage could result in a criminal conviction, hefty fine, and the loss of a licence which is simply not worth the risk.”
To make your pledge, visit: www.sthelens.gov.uk/ace
Top-tips on what to do if you suspect your child is consuming alcohol or drugs can be found by visiting www.sthelens.gov.uk/ypdaat
If you are worried about a young person’s drinking and need advice about what to do, call YPDAAT on: 01744 675 605 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org