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Talk to children about alcohol, parents urged

Monday November 21st, 2011

Health workers have been encouraging parents to talk to their children about alcohol and think about how their own drinking habits may impact on them.

The advice came from NHS Sussex during Alcohol Awareness Week last week.

Kate Bailey, public health consultant in West Sussex, said alcohol misuse is a growing problem in the county.

A recent survey of 14-15-year-olds found that 12 per cent of boys and 13 per cent of girls said they were regular binge drinkers.

Another survey of 16-24-year-olds revealed that 30 per cent of boys and 19 per cent of girls claimed to drink more than the recommended amounts regularly.

Other figures show that more than 2,000 people in West Sussex drink more than the recommended levels of alcohol and that there were more than 15,000 hospital admissions last year that were as a result of alcohol.

“The younger that people start drinking, the greater the impact it will have on their health and wellbeing in the long term,” she said.

Not only does drinking above the recommended levels increase the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, liver disease and strokes, it can lead to anti-social behaviour, violence, crime or unwanted pregnancy, she continued.

Organisations, including the NHS, local authorities, the police, schools and the voluntary sector, are working together to ensure young people can access accurate information and advice about alcohol use.

“Parents are in the best position to help their children make informed decisions about alcohol and what is sensible drinking,” explained Kate.

“Parents have a huge influence on their children’s attitude to alcohol, often without realising it, and so we would ask parents across the county to take this opportunity to make sure their children know how to avoid the dangers of too much alcohol.”

Geoff, from Sussex, told how the services help him to confront his son, aged 24, about a drinking problem.

He said: “Thanks to the support we received I accepted that only my son could change his behaviour, but my wife and I realised that we could set boundaries on what we thought was acceptable for the good of the whole family. We were also confident to carry out the consequences if anyone stepped over the boundaries.

“I felt empowered to talk to my son and pass on the information I had been given so that he was aware of where to go for help and support. I also felt more confident to talk to him about how his drinking was affecting him and the rest of the family."

Tags: Child Health | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | NHS | UK News | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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