YPDAAT are encouraging parents across St Helens to take the ACE Pledge to help reduce the harms caused by underage drinking.
Whilst research shows that increasing numbers of young people are choosing not to drink alcohol, those that do are drinking in increasingly harmful ways. St Helens has the second highest incidence of under 18s being admitted to A&E through alcohol intoxication in the country, and most young people tell us that often their parents are aware they are drinking and even provide their alcohol.
By taking the ACE pledge, we hope that parents will :
We know it can be hard, and there are lots of mixed messages about the benefits of introducing alcohol to young people in a controlled family setting, and some parents think that by providing small amounts of alcohol to their child they will know how much they will be drinking. However in reality young people can access large amounts of strong cider at 'pocket money' prices and it can be hard to know what access they get to alcohol from friends etc.
Advice from the Chief Medical Officer promotes an alcohol free childhood is the best option and that children should not have access to any alcohol at all under the age of 15.
An article in today's Guardian states "The idea that introducing your child to alcohol, for example with a glass of wine at the dinner table, will take away the novelty and deter binge drinking is a myth, say experts. Too many people still believe that families drinking together in France keeps children safe, when actually the county’s rates of alcohol dependence and binge drinking exceed those in the UK."
There are clear links between teenage alcohol use and other vulnerabilities such as pregnancy, violence and being the victim of crime. However, research is showing that teen drinking also affects how the brain develops and can lead to increased risk of problematic alcohol use into adulthood.
The ACE Pledge is intended to support parents with their decision to encourage an alcohol free childhood, and promote discussions with their children as to the reasons for this.
Visit the ACE Pledge page to take your pledge!
St Helens Young People's Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAAT), provide young people and their families in St Helens with a range of interventions to help them to make informed choices around drug and alcohol use in order to achieve their full potential.
Despite what you might think, most young people chose not to use drugs or alcohol. Of those that do most young people will grow out of this without any issues.