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Fears grow over young drinkers
5:00pm Sunday 22nd July 2012 in News
ABOUT 1,500 11 to 15-year-olds across Worcestershire drink dangerous amounts of alcohol, according to new figures.
Most of them are getting it from their parents’ homes, leading to claims that county people are “killing off the next generation”. The figures are contained in a county council report stating that binge drinking is “an escalating and serious concern.”
Health services in the county have recorded data suggesting 1,500 children aged 11 or over drank more than 15 units of booze weekly over the last year. That would equate to at least eight pints of a typical beer.
Peter Pinfield, who sits on the county’s health and wellbeing board, said: “It’s very, very worrying. To have 1,500 young people drinking like this is unacceptable, and it’s part of a culture all of us have a responsibility to solve.
“We’re at risk of killing off the next generation. We must realise the impact this has on the health of young people.
“When it comes to the selling of alcohol we’ve got to look at the pricing of it and the advertising messages out there and spread the word that it’s not cool to drink.”
The figures, which are estimates based on the number of children accessing health services with drinking problems, were revealed during a board meeting.
Council chiefs stated the figure for children was estimated to be about 2,000 in 2006, suggesting a short-term fall in numbers, but they also said that “those who do drink, drink more”. The report before the meeting also labelled it “an escalating problem” going back as far as the 1960s, with “significant”
rises since that time.
About a quarter of parents in the county are believed to have given alcohol to their children, and data suggests that 16,000 adult residents are dependent on drink.
There are also estimated to be about 100,000 adults in Worcestershire drinking “harmful” levels of alcohol.
The board has agreed to endorse a new alcohol plan for the county, which is due to be published in January.
It will outline how the NHS and county council can reduce harmful drinking.