|STREET LIFE | underage binge drinking is causing serious
Inside Out investigates the stark reality of underage
drinking and discovers that in some cases, alcohol causes more problems
amongst teenagers than any illegal drug.
cocaine, heroin, the list of harmful substances abused by youngsters today
goes on. But it may surprise you to learn that research undertaken in
Essex has revealed that the substance causing the greatest problem is
report reveals that young people are drinking at very early ages|
is the drug that causes most problems…our concern is that these young
people are starting to drink at really early ages. We found one regular
drinker who was seven." Tom Aldridge author of the report
that has been created is especially tailored for kids across Essex. The
Chelmsford-based project, backed by the Children’s Society, is exclusively
designed for children, some not even in their teens.
in centre opens every weekday, allowing young people to talk about their
problems in confidence. It is this confidentiality that has sparked controversy.
Parents are not informed about their child’s drinking unless the child
requests it, or unless the child is considered to be at risk.
under the influence
drinking at the age of 12. When Kerri’s dad would have a pint, she would
join him with an alcopop. After the death of her dad, Kerri began relying
more heavily on alcohol. As she was living with a friend rather than her
mum, there was no one to check her behaviour.
"I was doing
two to three bottles of Jack Daniels a day...When I woke up one morning
and I had no drink in and I had the shakes... that’s when I realised it
was really bad," says Kerri.
began drinking at the age of twelve|
drink, Kerri ended up in trouble. At the age of 16, she was convicted
for non-violent crime and has just completed an 18 month sentence in Holloway.
been in counselling with Sally for seven years and although she still
drinks occasionally, she is getting back on her feet. Kerri puts the success
of the service down to the fact that young people are listened to, rather
than preached at.
first started talking to people; counsellors, psychiatrists, I didn’t
like them, they pry too much... but Sally is really nice and down to earth,"
is not only office-based. In the evenings, workers visit the areas where
kids are known to hang out drinking. The ability to communicate with the
kids is essential, so the workers are chosen for their ability with young
people, rather than their qualifications.
is part of Britain's social culture|
one such outreach worker. He took Inside Out to Central Park in Chelmsford,
one of the known hang outs for underage drinkers.
an area we target. We give them information and talk to them before they
get too drunk," says Martin.
admits to drinking ethanol cut with coke, as a means of getting drunk
really quickly. This provides a sobering thought to parents everywhere.
may think their kids aren’t like me, but how do they know?"
An underage drinker
the cases of alcohol abuse we have looked at are extreme, they are by
no-means isolated incidents. Alcohol abuse amongst youngsters is on the
increase and in a society where drinking is part and parcel of our social
culture, it is a problem with no easy solution.
outreach scheme in Essex doesn’t claim to have all the answers to our
nation’s less than healthy relationship with alcohol, it offers support
and a confident to youngsters, and it’s certainly a step in the right