A hard-hitting new campaign which aims to cut the number of adults buying alcohol for under 18s is being launched today (November 1, 2004).
The "Do Us a Favour…?" poster campaign is a joint initiative between NHS Greater Glasgow, Strathclyde Police and Cambuslang & Rutherglen Healthy Living Initiative, and specifically targets adults who buy alcohol for young people under 18 and the off-licences who sell to them.
Both the Cambuslang and Rutherglen areas are being targeted and health staff and Police officers will work closely with off-licences and alcohol outlets throughout the campaign.
Nikki Boyle, Health Promotion Officer with NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "Alcohol use amongst young people is a huge problem in Cambuslang & Rutherglen and it's being made worse by older people obtaining the drink for youngsters. In a recent study, we found that 25% of these communities' youngsters aged between 12 and 15 get their alcohol by being given it by an older person.
"Young people's drinking in Cambuslang & Rutherglen is on the increase and part of that is due to the ease at which young people can access alcohol. For many, it's often as simple as getting an older person to buy it for them.
"That raises a number of concerns about the detrimental affect the alcohol has on the health of the young people and there's also a lot of concern amongst several Cambuslang & Rutherglen communities about public disorder and anti-social behaviour caused by drunken teenagers.
"The aim of this campaign is to reduce the number of adults buying alcohol for under 18s by reinforcing the message that it is against the law and that anyone doing it risks a fine of up to £1000. The campaign also aims to remind off-licence staff that they also have legal responsibilities and obligations in this matter."
Kirsty Smith, Alcohol Prevention & Education Worker with Cambuslang and Rutherglen Community Health Initiative said "The issue of young people under 18 drinking has been identified by local people as a major concern for the area and we are pleased to be involved in helping drive this campaign locally to help raise awareness of the issue of agent purchasing and to assist local communities to tackle alcohol related problems in their community."
Gerry Boyle, Sub Divisional Officer, Rutherglen and Cambuslang, Strathclyde Police, said: "The relationship between youth disorder and alcohol abuse is well known. In Rutherglen and Cambuslang, as in many other communities, this is the number one complaint from the public. Since October 2003, officers from Rutherglen and Cambuslang have made concerted efforts to reduce the availability of alcohol to young persons. During this time a number of licensed premises have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal, as have a number members of the public caught purchasing alcohol for underage persons. Already, significant reductions in youth related anti-social behaviour has been achieved and our efforts to deal with this problem will continue.
"However, the efforts of the police alone cannot bring about a lasting solution. I am therefore delighted to be part of the, Do Us A Favour Campaign. Only by working together in partnership can we hope to bring about a societal change where supplying alcohol to under age persons becomes socially unacceptable. Whilst part of the campaign will be about enforcement, the main thrust is to bring about a better understanding of the dangers of alcohol misuse and an improvement in the health and well-being of our youth. In doing so, this will ultimately make our communities safer places in which to live, work and invest."
The campaign was recently piloted in East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire in partnership with NHS Argyll & Clyde and Strathclyde Police. Although still being evaluated, early indications are that it has been successful. Select areas in Glasgow City have also run the campaign in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow, Greater Glasgow Alcohol Action Team and Strathclyde Police.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
In a recent survey of the drinking habits of young people in Greater Glasgow:
In the year 2000, nearly 1500 young people aged between 10 and 19 in Scotland were admitted to hospital as an emergency because of acute intoxication due to alcohol. Of those, nearly 400 were under the age of 15 and 1036 were aged 15 to 19.
The numbers of young people under the age of 18 who drink regularly rose from 14% to 21% in the period 1990 to 2000.
And if young people continue drinking and drinking heavily, here's a few statistics they'll hope they'll not become:
In 1990, one in one hundred deaths in Scotland were alcohol related. By 1999, this figure had risen to one in 40 (1,585)
More than two-thirds (73%) of alcohol related deaths are in men
The majority of these male deaths were in the 45 to 64 age group, but, in the younger age group (30 to 45) the number of deaths has doubled, indicating that alcohol problems are starting in drinkers at a younger age
Of the number of alcohol related deaths in Scotland, 44% of the deceased persons had been diagnosed with alcohol dependence.
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