Epping Forest’s young people raise concerns over alcohol at Youth Conference

dividing line
Epping Forest’s young people raise concerns over alcohol at Youth Conference

15 October 2014

During the Youth conference led by Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) on 14th October, which brought together over a hundred pupils, underage drinking was explored, amongst other subjects.

The conference was hosted by the EFDC to recognise the importance of European Local Democracy Week, giving young people aged 11-17 an opportunity to voice their opinions. The day started with a personal message from Mrs Eleanor Laing MP direct from the Houses of Parliament.

With questions addressing a panel of professionals from the Council, Police and other support services, Epping Forest Youth Council asked some pressing questions. In total 10 panelists were in attendance, with Gareth Clement (Chief Executive of the Alcohol & Drugs Advisory Service) and Essex Police’s Inspector Andy Fusher address questions relating to alcohol.

The Epping Forest Youth Council asked direct questions on what could be done to address underage drinking, and whether the panel agrees that altering the labelling on alcoholic beverages and seemingly non-alcoholic drinks should be changed.

There were discussions over increasing the age limit for purchasing alcohol, but a show of hands highlighted two-thirds of people in the room disagreed.

Terry Martin, co-founder of Alcohelp, delivered two sessions on alcohol at the Conference. He noted:

“There’s certainly social demographic issues to consider in Epping Forest. A lot of our work is conducted in schools in other less affluent areas of Essex. The young people that do drink alcohol in Epping Forest district are not purchasing what we would term ‘cheap alcohol’; they are drinking spirits. This essentially means that simply introducing minimum unit pricing wouldn’t have much of an impact on young people in the area drinking alcohol. There needs to be much more education on the dangers of alcohol so that young people can make informed choices"

“I must say, the pupils from the schools in each session showed a considerable amount of maturity on the subject of substance misuse and alcohol in particular. However, there were many concerns over the advertising of alcohol at familiar retail locations, including supermarkets, as well as the actual labelling of beverages. It seems that not only is it being ‘glamorised’, it is easy to obtain.”

As an active member of the Royal College of Physicians ‘Alcohol Health Alliance’ which is currently lobbying the Government on a number of changes to the way alcohol is sold in this Country, Alcohelp will feed-back its findings from the conference at the next meeting.

Related News

dividing line

There are currently no related articles