New survey highlights need for better alcohol education, says Swanswell

09 July 2013

Swanswell’s calling for better alcohol education after a new survey found one in ten primary school leavers admit to drinking alcohol during the last week.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to the results of a new poll by the Schools Health Education Unit, released this week.

It found that 13 percent of 10 to 11-year-old boys and ten percent of girls the same age said they had drunk an alcoholic drink within the last seven days (reports the Telegraph).

The survey also reported that one in every 100 young boys said they’d drunk alcohol on three of the last seven days, and more than a quarter of year ten boys admitted drinking alcohol at least once in the previous week.

Just over one in five year ten girls said they’d been drunk on at least one occasion in the last week. Ten percent of year ten pupils also admitted to taking drugs while drinking, according to the survey.

Chris Robinson, Swanswell’s Director of Services, said: ‘It’s very worrying that children as young as 10 are drinking alcohol and some are even taking drugs while drinking, which is even more dangerous.

Alcohol use at any age can cause a variety of health and other associated problems but drinking during childhood can also affect development, so it’s clear something needs to be done to help children understand the harms of alcohol.

Swanswell’s own research with clients, called Looking back: the adult viewpoint, found that many people’s problems with alcohol began when they were in their teenage years – peer pressure was one of the main reasons they started drinking.

Chris added: ‘Children and young people can be influenced more easily than adults - they need easy access to information that is relevant to them early on. When they know and understand more about the effect that drugs and alcohol can have on them, they are better placed to make informed decisions when pressured by their peers.

‘Schools have an important part to play in alcohol education but it’s vital that parents are actively involved too - their attitudes to alcohol are the biggest influence on their own children.

So, parents should think about where alcohol’s stored at home, when they drink and how much they drink. They can prepare and encourage informed conversations with their children about alcohol use and get advice from organisations like Swanswell.

'Ultimately, tackling problem alcohol use is not something any government, organisation or individual can tackle on their own – we all have a part to play.’

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