The findings of a new national survey have revealed very high levels of alcohol consumption by 15-year-olds in Cheshire East, with local teenage girls in particular reporting much higher levels of alcohol use than elsewhere in the country.
The survey, which questioned more than 2,100 young people aged 15 across Cheshire East, found that ten per cent of girls are drinking alcohol regularly and 24 per cent of girls say they have been drunk in the past four weeks.
Boys also reported higher than average levels of alcohol consumption for England, with 8 per cent drinking regularly and 14.5 per cent being drunk in the past four weeks.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of children and families, said: “Regular drinking and getting drunk have become a normal part of life for too many teens in Cheshire East.
“Parents need to understand the harm that alcohol is doing within their families. Parental influence can have a huge impact on the drinking behaviour of their children, both positive and negative.”
Cllr Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council Cabinet member in charge of health and care in the community, said: “It is important that all local residents understand the risks and the harm of drinking alcohol, not only to their own health and wellbeing but also the social impacts within our local community.”
Dr Heather Grimbaldeston, Director of Public Health for Cheshire East, said: “Excessive drinking leads to a range of serious long-term physical and mental health problems for our teenagers, particularly girls, as well as leaving them vulnerable to violence and sex assaults”.
“We have a number of services around Cheshire East where young people and/or their parents can get information, advice and support on alcohol consumption.”
The following are sources that can be used for support:
• The Cheshire East substance misuse service ‘stepping stones’ supports both adults and young people for parents and carers who have concerns about either their child’s or their own alcohol abuse. Visit: www.cwp.nhs.uk/services/2540-cheshire-east-substance-misuse-service. As part of the stepping stones service young people will receive information and support directly from Catch22 www.catch-22.org.uk/
• Individuals can contact Stepping Stones directly (referrals are also made by GPs, Social Care, Hospitals)
• Stepping Stones leaflet www.cwp.nhs.uk/drug-and-alcohol/2571-cheshire-east-substance-misuse-service
• Further information about alcohol and the harmful effects of alcohol is available via NHS Choices www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/2595.aspx?categoryid=62/ and Change for Life www.nhs.uk/Change4Life/Pages/alcohol-health-harms.aspx