An important new multi-agency campaign has been launched to raise awareness of the health issues and the community safety impact of underage drinking.
Dover District Council, South Kent Police and the Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust have launched the campaign to raise awareness of the issues of underage drinking and to tackle its effects.
The campaign is funded by the Respect Youth Taskforce, Eastern and Coastal Kent Primary Care Trust and the Home Office. It also forms part of the national Home Office campaign to tackle underage drinking. The campaign across Dover District is being co-ordinated by the recently-launched joint Community Safety Unit.
According to national research, 10 per cent of 12 to 15 year-old drinkers say they buy their own alcohol, and 63 per cent of 16 to 17 year-olds have bought their own alcohol in pubs, nightclubs and bars. In a survey of underage binge drinkers aged between 14 and 17, teenagers said binge drinking had led to unsafe sex, injury, drug taking, involvement in dangerous driving and getting into trouble with the police.
"Some of the national statistics surrounding young people and alcohol are truly staggering," said Cllr Julie Rook, DDC cabinet member for citizenship.
"I think it is important for us to try and raise awareness amongst young people and parents of the impact alcohol has not only on their own lives and long-term health, but also on the community as a whole."
Police Sgt Guy Thompson said there was a strong link between underage drinking and anti-social behaviour, including criminal damage. "This causes concern to local residents and I am pleased we are joining forces with our partners to tackle the problem."
The local campaign covers education, diversion and enforcement.
The Primary Care Trust has invested in a three-year programme to provide five dedicated alcohol workers to support families in the community to help deal with alcohol abuse.