A hard-hitting new campaign which aims to cut the number of adults buying alcohol for under 18s is being launched tomorrow (Monday).
The "Do Us a Favour…?" poster campaign is a joint initiative to target adults who buy alcohol for young people under 18 and the off-licences who sell to them.
It's being run by NHS Greater Glasgow in conjunction with Strathclyde Police, Glasgow Council on Alcohol (GCA) Local Prevention Projects and Greater Easterhouse Alcohol Awareness Project (GEAAP).
Five areas of the city are being targeted - Easterhouse, Greater Pollok, North Glasgow (including Royston and Sighthill), Drumchapel and the East End – and health, GEAAP, GCA 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 Glasgow and it's being made worse by older people obtaining the drink for youngsters. In a recent study, we found that 25% of Glaswegian youngsters aged between 12 and 15 obtain their alcohol by being given it by an older person.
"Young people's drinking in Glasgow 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 that alcohol has on the health of the young people and there's also a lot of concern amongst several Glasgow 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."
Kevin Smith, Divisional Commander of Glasgow East Division commented: "It is no secret that alcohol misuse is a significant contributor to people becoming either victims or perpetrators of offences, sometimes with life changing and tragic consequences for all those concerned, including their wider families.
"Young people are particularly at risk from the effects of alcohol misuse and I am delighted to support this timely campaign which aims to educate young people of the very real dangers associated with young people's drinking.
"I believe it will also challenge those adults who mistakenly believe that they are doing young people a favour by agreeing to purchase alcohol for them.
"Though not the primary focus of this initiative officers, both uniform and plain clothed, will be focusing on this issue and we will have no hesitation in prosecuting those who openly flaunt licensing laws and whose actions fuel some of the street crime in our area."
Alex Meikle from Glasgow Council on Alcohol said: "This is a good example at community level of trying to prevent alcohol misuse by young people. But the emphasis is on adults and off-licence staff behaving responsibly with respect to young people drinking.
"The Glasgow Council on Alcohol's prevention and education projects located in the areas where this campaign is targeting are pleased to participate. We would hope the campaign would minimise harm to young people and encourage responsibility amongst adults."
Stewart MacKay from GEAAP said: "This is an ideal opportunity for our education and prevention team and local people to take part in a campaign that directly targets young people's drinking and will benefit the community as a whole. By the use of the posters and wallet cards it is hoped that adults and off licence staff will get the message that the sale of alcohol to or the purchase of alcohol for young people is not only socially unacceptable but it is also illegal and can carry a heavy penalty."
The campaign was recently piloted in East Renfrewshire in partnership with NHS Argyll & Clyde and Strathclyde Police. Although still being evaluated, early indications are that it has been successful.
Chief Inspector John Farrell, Deputy Sub Divisional Officer at Giffnock Police Office, said: "We know that one in five young people get an adult to buy alcohol for them. We're reminding licensed premises staff of their legal responsibilities and give notice that adults who buy alcohol for youngsters are breaking the law and will be prosecuted."
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: