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Welcome to SHAAP’s (Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems) weekly media monitoring service.

03 December 2015
 

#MUPsaveslives

 

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This briefing aims to provide a ‘snap shot’ of latest news on alcohol and health policy. The inclusion of an article in the briefing should not imply that SHAAP approves or condones the content.

SHAAP provides a coordinated, coherent and authoritative medical and clinical voice on the need to reduce the impact of alcohol related harm on the health and wellbeing of the people in Scotland. SHAAP was set up by the Scottish Medical Royal Colleges, through their Scottish Intercollegiate Group (SIGA) and is governed by an Executive Committee made up of members of the Royal Colleges.

Region sees biggest fall in drink driving offences

Dumfries & Galloway has recorded the biggest fall in drink driving offences in the whole of the UK since the introduction of the lower drink drive limit in Scotland.

The region saw a 56.4 percent reduction in the number of offences in the nine month period following the change.

Figures obtained by AlcoSense Personal Breathalysers show that between December 2014 and August 2015, all but one area in Scotland (based on pre-Police Scotland divisions) reported a reduction in drink driving offences.

Fife and Forth Valley followed Dumfries & Galloway in the rankings with drink driving down by one quarter and one fifth respectively. Renfrewshire & Inverclyde was the only area to see an increase (4.7 percent).

AlcoSense worked with local police forces in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland to obtain exclusive data on the relative increases and decreases in drink driving in the first nine months after Scotland reduced its drink drive limit.

The legal alcohol limit in Scotland was reduced from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.

Since lowering the drink drive limit Scotland, as a whole, saw a 12.5 percent reduction in drink driving offences compared to a 6.6 percent fall across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Across the rest of the UK, England saw drink driving offences fall by 7.3 percent and Northern Ireland by 9.4 percent in the nine month period immediately following December 2014.

Wales was the only nation to register an increase with 6 percent more people charged than the previous year.

Hunter Abbott, managing director of AlcoSense Personal Breathalysers comments: “The legislative change has clearly had an impact in Scotland, with a significantly greater reduction in offences than elsewhere in the UK. People have become increasingly aware of the dangers associated with drink driving.

“Far fewer people are taking the risk of even just having one drink if they have to drive the same night. However, the lower limit has dramatically increased the risk of unintentionally drink driving the morning after, as it now takes two to three hours longer to get below the limit now than it did a year ago*.

“18.5% of drink driving accidents happen the morning after**, many of them unintentional drink driving. You can’t estimate when the alcohol has cleared your system from the night before as everybody processes alcohol slightly differently. The only way to be sure you are clear the morning - and sometimes even afternoon – after is to use a breathalyser.”

AlcoSense produces a range of award winning pocket sized breathalysers designed to give drivers peace of mind the morning after.

Over 50 percent of AlcoSense customers have had a positive reading the morning after when, without AlcoSense, they thought they would have been clear and unintentionally drink driven.

To find out more about AlcoSense visit www.alcosense.co.uk

Source: Galloway Gazette, 30th November
 

Two-thirds of drink-drivers would abstain if limit was lower, survey finds

Two-thirds of motorists who drive after drinking alcohol would not have drunk at all if the drink-driving limit was reduced, according to a survey.

The Populus survey findings have prompted alcohol and public health campaigners to urge ministers to impose Scotland’s lower limit across the rest of the UK.

The legal blood-alcohol limit in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 80mg per 100ml – is one of the highest in Europe. Only Malta allows people to have more alcohol in their body when driving.

Scotland last year reduced its limit to 50mg, a move credited with cutting drink-driving offences by 5%. Extending the same policy UK-wide would save lives and lead many drivers to be more responsible, it is claimed.

In the Populus survey, 568 of the 1,833 people who took part said they had driven after drinking alcohol. Of those who had, 66% said they would not drink at all if the limit was lowered. The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), which commissioned the survey, said that was because some would be unsure how much it was safe to consume and others would decide it was not worth drinking at all.

“Alcohol-related road fatalities account for around one in seven road traffic deaths. While good progress has been made in cutting the numbers killed or injured through alcohol-related driving incidents we believe that the UK should follow the lead of Scotland and the majority of EU countries and adopt a lower limit”, said Shirley Cramer, the society’s chief executive.

“The evidence is that this will lead to a drop in alcohol-related road traffic accidents and our research would suggest that a further reduction would encourage many motorists just not to take the risk of drink-driving,” Cramer added.

While consuming any alcohol at all increases the chance of having an accident while behind the wheel, research shows that drivers who are just under the current 80mg limit are twice as likely to die in a crash than those just under the 50mg limit campaigners are backing.

In a letter to the Guardian, the RSPH and five other alcohol or public health groups claim the case for a UK-wide 50mg legal limit was overwhelming.

“The adoption of a 50mg driving limit across European countries has reduced alcohol-related driving death rates by 11.5% among young people aged 18-25,” the letter says.

The 5% fall in drink-driving offences in Scotland in the year since it introduced the lower limit shows that “people have changed their behaviour and are drinking less before getting behind the wheel”, it adds.

Source: the Guardian, 1st December

New campaign seeks to tackle underage drinking in Highlands

A new campaign seeks to tackle underage drinking in the Highlands.

The region's number of under 15s taking alcohol remains above the national average, according to the Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership.

Its campaign Meet the MacPhersons draws on evidence gathered from 200 young people and 20 parents.

They were asked for their experiences of the dilemmas faced by children, teenagers and parents in relation to alcohol.

Almost three quarters of young people in the Highlands have drunk alcohol by the time they turn 15, according to the partnership, whose members include NHS Highland.

The partnership said there has been a 10% reduction in underage drinking in the region since 2010, but it remained above the national average.

'Chronic diseases'

Deborah Stewart, co-ordinator for Highland Alcohol and Drugs Partnership, said families have an important part to play in tackling underage drinking.

She said: "Underage drinking remains a concern as it contributes to a range of negative health and social outcomes.

"There is also evidence that shows early alcohol use is associated with increased risk of dependency in adulthood and chronic diseases associated with excessive drinking in adults.

"By reducing underage drinking we can reduce the risk of alcohol problems developing in adulthood and families can play a part in that by modelling sensible drinking, communicating risks associated with drinking and participating in positive activities. That's why we would like families to Meet the MacPhersons."

Last month, NHS Highland's director of public health said children as young as three can recognise the smell associated with alcohol.

Dr Hugo van Woerden said he recognised that responsible drinking was "a normal part of a healthy society".

But he has raised concerns about levels of alcohol abuse and children's exposure to it.

He said in the health board's area 9.4% of men and 7.2% of women were classed as problem drinkers.

His report mentions "children as young as three can recognise the smell associated with alcoholic drinks".

Dr van Woerden also said there had been a rise in alcohol intake by women aged 16-24.

Source: BBC News, 1st December

 

Older women drinkers putting their health at risk, survey finds

An epidemic of drinking is threatening the health of 'empty nest' mums, but only one in 25 recognise the risks, a new survey suggests.

The research, found that more than a quarter of mums aged 45 plus, and whose children had left home, said their drinking had gone up since their children left. More than 40 per cent said they drank more or much more than their grown up children.

However 95 per cent said they were not worried about their drinking and only 4 per cent said they thought it was impairing their health. In the same survey, adults aged 18-24 were nearly twice as likely to be concerned about the negative effects of their drinking on their health.

Dr. Sarah Jarvis, Medical Advisor to the charity Drinkaware, said: “Whilst many believe it is the 20-somethings who are drinking too much, we are actually seeing an epidemic amongst British women aged 45-64. This is the fastest group of hazardous drinkers who are potentially putting their health at risk.”

“Women in this age group seem to be drinking more alcohol, more regularly – whether at home alone or out socialising. Many are unaware that a couple of glasses of wine each day can cause as much, if not more, damage than the binge drinking associated with many university students.”

The problem of increased drinking among adults in later life is already recognised

According to a separate study by the OECD in 2015, the largest group of hazardous drinkers among women in the UK are those aged 45-64 and this number is growing with 10 per cent of women in this age group drinking five times a week compared to 2 per cent of women aged 18-24.

Support charity Addaction has recently launched a programme Drink Wise Aged Well backed by £25m from the Big Lottery Fund aimed at cutting down the alcohol consumed by over 50s. Initially running in five areas of the UK including Glasgow, it is addressing an upsurge in drinking in later life, which experts believe could be fuelled by some of the stressful transitions people of that age face, including children leaving home, retirement, bereavement and loneliness.

Andrew Horne, director of Addaction Scotland said of the latest research: "this is a really interesting survey. It backs up what we have suspected that the over 50’s are drinking more.

"The stereotype of young hazardous drinkers is indeed surpassed by their parents. At Drink Wise Age Well we are increasingly coming into contact with high functioning people who are drinking at levels that may cause them serious health problems in the future”.

Source: Herald Scotland, 30th November
 

Mixed drinks with diet beverages may boost breath alcohol levels

People who mix alcohol and diet drinks end up with more alcohol on their breath, according to a new study.

People who drank vodka mixed with diet soda had higher alcohol concentrations on their breath than those who drank the same amount of vodka mixed with regular soda, researchers write in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Prevention materials should include this information so people know that by trying to avoid some extra calories in a mixed drink, they risk having higher breath alcohol concentrations, write the researchers, led by Amy Stamates of Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights.

Previous research found similar results, but the findings were not generalizable to real-world scenarios, the researchers add.

For the new study, they had 10 men and 10 women between ages 21 and 30 drink five different mixed beverage combinations over five sessions. The drinks contained varying amounts of vodka and either diet or regular sweetened soda. One drink was just regular soda alone.

The researchers then measured the alcohol concentrations in the participants' breaths for three hours.

They found higher concentrations of alcohol on the breaths of the participants when they drank the mixed beverages containing diet soda.

For a low amount of alcohol, the researchers found breath alcohol concentrations were about 22 percent higher when participants had their beverages mixed with diet soda rather than regular soda.

For a larger amount of alcohol, breath alcohol concentrations were about 25 percent higher when the drinks were made with diet soda.

While there were no differences in the results by gender, the researchers say the findings may be particularly relevant to young women, who are most likely to use diet beverages in their mixed drinks.

Dr. Chris Rayner, a gastroenterologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia, told Reuters Health that so-called gastric emptying is likely the reason for higher alcohol concentrations in the participants' breaths.

In a previous study, Rayner found alcohol left the stomach and entered the bloodstream faster when people used diet drinks in their mixed beverages, compared to when they used regularly sweetened drinks.

"Although it makes good press, I wouldn’t interpret the findings as indicating that diet beverages are 'bad,'" said Rayner, who was not involved with the new study.

Instead, he said, the effects of alcohol are mitigated if consumed with nutrients like sugar, because it slows the entry of alcohol into the small intestine, where it is absorbed by the body.

"So my message would be that consuming alcohol without any accompanying nutrients will result in a somewhat higher peak blood alcohol concentration," he said. "However, it is at least as important to consume alcohol in moderation, regardless of whether it is taken with or without food."

The authors of the study were unable to respond to a request for comment by deadline.

Source: Reuters, 27th November
 

What social workers need to know about foetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Advice on consuming alcohol during pregnancy in the UK is woefully inadequate. Current official guidance given by midwives is: “It is better not to drink, but if you do, then 1 or 2 units, once or twice a week is alright”.

In Australia and Canada it is a lot simpler: “If you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or think you may be pregnant it is safer not to drink alcohol.” This simple, clear and easy to remember advice would make a massive difference to a significant number of children.

Across the world, it is recognised that alcohol effects the unborn foetus and can have a dramatic impact upon it. This impact usually involves some element of neurological problems as alcohol is a “neuro-toxin”, literally a “brain poison”.

This neurological damage can be accompanied by physical manifestations also, but not necessarily.

The conditions

All the conditions caused by alcohol consumption by the mother during the pregnancy are jointly referred to as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and the one condition that many people are aware of is FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome), where the alcohol causes facial dysmorphology, a smooth philtrum and a thin upper lip being the obvious features.

However, the vast majority of foetally affected children will not have FAS and there will be nothing visible to show they have been affected. This condition is Alcohol Related Neurological Disorder (ARND).

Children with ARND & FASD might have intellectual disabilities and problems with behaviour and learning. They might do poorly in school and have difficulties with maths, memory, attention, judgment, and exhibit poor impulse control.

Social workers, along with parents/carers, will start to notice the impact in terms of behaviours and emotions in a whole range of ways and will seek explanations for it, and at that point pre-birth exposure to alcohol neds to be considered before, or as well as, looking at ADHD or attachment issues.

Estimates across the globe suggest that 1/100 children, worldwide, are on the spectrum, with about 1/1000 having FAS.

However, given the particularly close relationship we in the UK have with alcohol – it is central to most of our rituals (weddings, christenings, funerals, leaving dos, stag nights, hen nights) and our everyday life – this figure is generally thought to be an under-estimate and most experts would agree that a figure closer to 3% or even 5% is much more likely to be accurate.

Children in care

Recent research (1) has also suggested that this figure jumps alarmingly when considering children in care, with 27% identified, within a very small audit, as being on the spectrum.

Looking at children being freed for adoption the numbers jumped again to suggest that up to 75% might, somewhere down the line, start to display the emotional and behavioural problems associated with FASD.

It is not surprising when we consider that 65% of children enter care due to neglect and abuse and a significant number of these will come from homes where alcohol plays a significant part.

These figures were given to the recently formed All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for FASD looking at this issue.

TACT (The Adolescent & Children’s Trust) was the only social work organisation invited to give oral evidence to the APPG for FASD, alongside presentations from education and health professionals as well as carers and adopters, and we were especially asked to explain why FASD needed more awareness and consideration by social workers.

We explained that, in common with the children in the wider community, FASD was an unrecognised condition in looked-after children with little awareness or training given to professionals.

The consequence of children going into permanent placements with either a “missed diagnosis” or a “mis-diagnosis” could be dramatic and only with an increased awareness of FASD through training could social workers ensure that these issues were addressed.

Rammifications

Unless trained and aware of FASD it is unlikely that professionals, including social workers, will consider pre-birth exposure to alcohol as an explanation for a child’s behaviour, which has these possible ramifications:-

  • If ‘missed diagnosed’, many will just be viewed as ‘poorly behaved’, ‘non-compliant’ children and their parents risk being criticised for being poor carers as they are not receiving the support they need. In extremis this can also lead to family breakdown.
  • If ‘mis-diagnosed’ they may instead be labelled or diagnosed as Autistic, or ADHD or having an Attachment Disorder. They would then be ‘treated’ accordingly, maybe with medication (Ritalin) or having expensive ‘talking therapies’, which are unlikely to work effectively.
  • If FASD is not considered as a possibility, either now or in the future, bearing in mind that the neurological impact of alcohol does not usually present until children are at least 5 and maybe older, we will be placing children for permanence with unprepared carers. This is of particular concern considering the increase in special guardianship orders and kinship placements being made where the permanent carers will not necessarily have the same support and access to professional help as adopters and foster carers.
  • Without the appropriate support, people with FASD have a high risk of developing secondary problems such as psychiatric issues, disrupted school experience and alcohol and drug problems.

FASD conditions are more common than appreciated, and while efforts must be made to educate and hopefully prevent children being brain damaged before birth by their mother’s alcohol consumption, we must also be aware that large numbers of children have been, and are being, born with this life-long condition.

In particular, given the high numbers in the care system and the implications for placing them in permanence, it is vital that social workers become familiar with FASD and question, at the earliest possible opportunity, whether pre-birth alcohol consumption might play a part in the child’s future.

Source: Community Care, 30th November
 

Inequalities in alcohol-related mortality in Europe

Alcohol-related conditions are an important contributing factor to the socioeconomic inequality in total mortality in many European countries, according to a study published this week in PLOS Medicine. The database analysis, conducted by Johan Mackenbach at Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and colleagues indicates that in some countries, alcohol-related causes account for 10% or more of the socioeconomic inequality in total mortality among men.

Globally, about three million people die from alcohol-related causes every year. In many European countries, the frequency of drinking and the levels of alcohol consumption are greater in higher socioeconomic groups, whereas binge drinking and other problematic forms of alcohol consumption occur more frequently in lower socioeconomic groups. Mackenbach and colleagues obtained data on deaths from alcoholic psychosis, dependence, and abuse; alcoholic cardiomyopathy; alcoholic liver cirrhosis; and accidental alcohol poisoning from the mortality registers of 17 European countries. Rates of alcohol-related mortality were higher in individuals with less education or with manual (as opposed to non-manual) occupations in all 17 countries. Absolute inequalities were largest in Eastern Europe, Finland and Denmark. Moreover, the absolute inequalities increased markedly in Hungary, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, and Denmark because of a rapid rise in alcohol-related mortality in lower socioeconomic groups.

The accuracy of these findings is likely to be affected by the use of routinely collected underlying causes of death. However, these findings indicate that to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in mortality, health professionals and governments need to introduce interventions and policies designed to counter recent increases in alcohol-related mortality in lower socioeconomic groups. The authors state, "[s]tudies of why such increases [in inequality] have not occurred in countries like France, Switzerland, Spain, and Italy can help in developing evidence-based policies in other European countries.

Source: Eurek Alert, 1st December
 

Last Christmas to stock up on cheap alcohol offers

This could be the last Christmas shoppers can stock up on cheap drink for the festive season as the Government is to begin the process of enacting minimum alcohol pricing laws in the coming weeks.

Health Minister Leo Varadkar will bring proposed legislation before Cabinet in the next two weeks, which for the first time will impose strict rules on below-cost selling of beer, wine and spirits.

"The intention is to get it before one of the Houses of the Oireachtas before the end of the year if possible," a senior government source said.

The new laws could see the minimum price of a bottle of wine set at €8.80 and a can of beer will have to be sold for at least €2.20.

This could add huge expense at Christmas when alcohol sales soar as people bulk buy for family and friends visiting over the holiday period.

Supermarket chains regularly offer cheap deals on alcohol over Christmas, with shoppers availing of 24 bottles of beer for just €24, or six bottles of wine for the price of five.

However, Mr Varadkar's plan is aimed at clamping down on shops and supermarkets selling alcohol below cost as he believes this is fuelling alcohol abuse in Ireland.

A shocking 88 people die every month in Ireland due to alcohol-related medical problems, and there is almost twice as many deaths from alcohol as there is from drug abuse.

Studies have found introducing minimum pricing units on alcohol could reduce national consumption by more than 8pc and result in almost 6,000 fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions.

Mr Varadkar previously said the days of 15 cans being sold for €15 was "in the past".

"Most Irish adults drink too much and many drink dangerously," he added.

"This has an enormous impact on our society and economy through greater illness and higher health costs, public order and violent offences, road traffic collisions, injuries and absence from work."

The Vintners Federation of Ireland supports the introduction of minimum price legislation but the move could be blocked by the European Union Court of Justice.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 will also propose introducing compulsory health warnings and calorie counts on alcohol packaging.

The labels will warn that drinking alcohol can cause liver disease, cancer and hepatitis. They will also warn about the dangers of drinking while pregnant.

Health inspectors will be given strengthened powers to enforce the new rules and ensure supermarkets and off-licences comply with the legislation. There will also be restrictions on alcohol marketing and advertising on social media, especially to young people and children.

Alcohol companies will also be banned from advertising their brands on television and radio before 9pm.

Drinks companies will not be banned from sponsoring sporting events, as was previously proposed, but this issue will be examined again in three years.

However, on-pitch advertising of alcohol at major sporting events, which is regularly seen in Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium, will be prohibited under the new rules.

This element of the legislation is likely to put Mr Varadkar on a collision course with the drinks industry and sporting organisations but he is determined to curb the glamorisation of alcohol consumption.

Alcohol abuse groups are hugely supportive of the minister's plan to introduce tighter regulations around alcohol sales and advertising.

Source: Irish News, 3rd December
 

Call to help addicts from BME communities in Glasgow

Source: Herald Scotland, 27th November
 

South Shields town centre booze ban set to be approved

Plans to tighten licensing restrictions in South Tyneside to tackle booze-fuelled crime and disorder are set to get the go-ahead this week.

Councillors are set to approve plans that will extend an existing enforcement zone – which restricts new licensed premises from opening, and limits applications for extended hours from existing businesses.

The South Shields Town Centre’s Cumulative Impact Policy zone already incorporates 25 licensed premises in Anderson Street North, Coston Drive, Mile End Road and part of King Street and Ocean Road.

However, councillors are recommended to approve the plans during Thursday’s full council meeting at Jarrow Town Hall to expand the area to take in the stretch between Fowler Street, Anderson Street and up to Beach Road, and to include hot food takeaways, open between 11pm and 5am.

If given the green light, the new restrictions would come into force in January.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety, said: “As the council renews its Licensing Act Policy, it is important to take into account the rise in the number of licensed premises and activity within the special policy area.

“The type, capacity and density of pubs, clubs, restaurants and hot food takeaways can lead to problems of crime and disorder, anti-social behaviour and nuisance.

“The link between alcohol and crime and disorder is well documented, not to mention the impact of alcohol on people’s health and on the emergency services.

Source: the Shields Gazette, 1st December
 

Deadly fake-alcohol-poisoning cases reported across Russia

Many cases of deadly poisoning from bootleg alcohol have been reported in several Russian regions.

Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on December 1 that "dozens have been killed or hospitalized" after consuming fake alcoholic beverages in the Russian regions of Krasnoyarsk, Chuvashia, Orenburg, Kursk, Kaluga, and Moscow in recent days.

Markin did not give an exact number of people who have been poisoned with methanol after drinking the phony alcohol, but added that the death toll was rising.

Investigations have been launched into the poisoning cases in the affected regions.

Officials in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk said on November 30 that six suspected sellers of tainted alcohol were arrested after 11 locals died after recently drinking fake Jack Daniel's whiskey.

Source: Radio Free Europe, 1st December
 

Malaysia says it plans to raise age for drinking alcohol

Malaysia plans to raise the minimum age for alcohol consumption from 18 to 21, it said in a filing to the World Trade Organization on Tuesday.

It did not say when the change would take place, but said it was part of a strategy aiming to prevent underage drinking and limit the accessibility of alcohol to high risk groups.

Malaysia also plans additional labeling requirements for alcohol products to warn about their effect on health, it said.

The filing to the WTO invites other members of the global trading body to comment on its plans within the next 60 days.

Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country but also home to Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd, which reported an 11 percent increase in quarterly profits on Monday, and Guiness Anchor Bhd,

Alcohol is widely available and consumed by an estimated 3.5 million of the nearly 30 million population, according to the Confederation of Malaysian Brewers Berhad.

The country already has one of Asia’s highest excise taxes on alcohol, but consumption of alcohol has been relatively steady.

In neighboring Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, lawmakers have proposed legislation to ban all consumption of alcoholic drinks and hand jail terms of up to two years to offenders.

It also introduced a steep increase in import tariffs on wine and spirits.

Last year, Malaysia exported spirits worth $269 million, mainly to Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand, and beer worth $156 million, mainly to Singapore and Thailand.

Source: Reuters, 1st December
 

Young people in UK 'drinking alcohol to cope'

According to an Ipsos MORI survey of young people and their parents’ drinking attitudes, 44% of 10 to 17-year-olds have ever had an alcoholic drink say they drink to cheer themselves up, feel less depressed or anxious or forget about their problems.

Two fifths (40%) of young people who drink for these reasons drink at least once a week, which is more than twice the national average (19%) for their age.

Meanwhile, The Drinkaware Monitor shows that more than half (53%) of young people with low mental wellbeing have had an alcoholic drink, compared with 36% of those with high mental wellbeing

As such, Drinkaware is encouraging parents to talk to their children about alcohol as anxiety and depression can increase over the festive period.

“At this time of year, when alcohol is more prevalent young people may feel more pressure to drink,” said Elaine Hindal, chief executive of Drinkaware. “Many of us think our children hardly listen to a word we say, but we want to remind parents that they are actually the main source of information about alcohol for their children.

“It’s never too early to talk to your children about the risks of underage drinking which is why we are encouraging parents to have the ‘alcohol chat’ and to remind young people that they will not be alone if they choose not to drink.”

Latest figures have depicted an “encouraging downward trend” in underage drinking in the UK, with the number of 11-15 year olds who have drunk a whole alcoholic drink at least once dropping to 38% in 2014 from 61% in 2003.

Source: The Spirits Business, 27th November
 

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