Local schools targeted to reduce underage drinking

Local initiatives, such as community alcohol partnerships and Lincolnshire Police, are providing educational work in schools to help to promote sensible, lawful sales in conjunction with underage drinking.

Underage drinking can create major health risks such as liver disease.

Other risks can include decrease in memory function, reactions, learning ability and attention span, all important factors needed in school life.

18% of 11-15 year olds are consuming 15 or more units a week

Research also shows 43% of young people, who drink alcohol, reported that they are drinking to cope in some way, and evidence points towards alcohol misuse and mental problems being closely related.

In a study conducted on school pupils in England, 44% of those aged 11-15 in England had drunk alcohol at least once.

The proportion of pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink was found to increase with age from 15% of 11 year olds, to 73% of 15 year olds.

Lincolnshire Police are attempting to prevent health risks and sales to underage customers.

Image: Lincolnshire Police

Louise Bovingdon, from Lincolnshire Police told LSJ News:

“Licensing Legislation suggests a stepped approach to any enforcement work.

“We test purchase between 100/200 premises a year, if an underage sale is made the person selling will get a fixed penalty notice, followed by work with the premises to increase training, knowledge and ability of staff.

“Those that fail will be tested again, at an unannounced date.

“At this time (2019), we have no venues that have failed two times in a row. Intervention is effective at identifying and resolving the problem.”

Other research shows that children who start to drink by the age of 13, are more likely to have lower grades, skip school and in some cases, be excluded.

Dr Aese Villadsen, a researcher from University College London commented:

“There are not really strong socio-economic factors driving behaviour, it seems to be that kids from across the spectrum are engaging in risky behaviours.

“The stage where they are in adolescence, or puberty, that is a massive driver, is all related.

“If things become a behavioural pattern and established at a young age, it might be difficult to shift later on.”

Experts say the findings of this study will help to intervene in youths adopting risky behaviours and that the study highlights the need to tackle the issues of underage drinking.