You are in: Health

Monday, 15 October, 2001, 23:46 GMT 00:46 UK
Alcohol fight goes into schools
Girl drinking
There is concern about teenage alcohol abuse
Schools are to be issued with a guide warning of the dangers of irresponsible use of alcohol by children.

The initiative has been launched by the charities Alcohol Concern and DrugScope which are deeply worried about a dramatic rise in young people's drinking.

Children and young people are entitled to education about alcohol

Vivienne Evans
Alcohol Concern
The amount consumed by 11-15 year-olds who drink has spiralled to over 10.4 alcohol units a week.

This is twice the amount drunk ten years ago, and equivalent to more than five bottles of alcopops or five pints of cider.

Recent research has also revealed that 15 and 16-year-olds in the UK are more likely to get drunk than most of their European counterparts - 30% report binge-drinking three or more times in the last month.

Until now guidance for schools has focused largely on illicit drugs.

Cultural status

The new guide, Alcohol: Support and Guidance for Schools, aims to help schools educate children about the legal, cutural and social status of alcohol.

It is also designed to help schools cope with the problems associated with both pupils' drinking and that of their parents.

It also offers advice on how to deal with staff who have a drink problem, how to cope with pupils' drinking, and prepare and manage incidents relating both to pupils' drinking and drinking by pupils' parents.

Practical guidance

Vivienne Evans, who heads Alcohol Concern and DrugScope's education and prevention team, said: "Rather than burdening schools with additional work, this document provides practical guidance and support to help them tackle alcohol education and alcohol-related incidents and welfare issues.

"Children and young people are entitled to education about alcohol. It is an important part of a curriculum which prepares them for the opportunities, experiences and responsibilities of adult life.

"Alcohol plays a significant part in our culture, our society, our relationships and our economy."