Off-Licences A Major Cause of Underage Drinking?

Schemes to stop underage drinkingIt is no surprise that the price and availability of alcohol has an impact on underage drinking, however rather than wait until the problem turns into physical dependence getting treatment early can be a real life saver - literally!!

The United Kingdom continues to have a thriving treatment system for issues pertaining to alcohol abuse. In our communities we have charitable groups that offer support to the alcoholic and the family of the addict; as a society we understand the issues of alcoholism, how they can arise, engulf and control the sufferer, and the treatments which we can call upon. In our NHS service we have alcohol detox and residential alcohol rehabs as well as Private alcohol rehabs.

However while drinking levels in the UK, perhaps surprisingly, appear to be reducing (drinking levels are still 11% lower than they were in 2004 when a marked decline in UK consumption began) there is a growing concern in relation to how are youngest and most vulnerable members of society are using and abusing alcohol.

Under-age Drinking Linked to Off-Licences


A study commissioned by the lobby group Alcohol Concern focused on the drinking habits of young people and attempted to discern what the causes are for excessive drinking and why some geographical areas were more prone to problems then others. The findings are striking in that there appears to be a strong link between the prevalence of off-licenses and children coming to harm through drink abuse.  The results of the study suggests that for every two off-licenses per 100,000 population, one under-18 year-old was admitted to hospital for alcohol poisoning or intoxication between 2006 and 2009.  In other words, the more off-licenses a town boasts, the greater the number of under-age drinkers likely to end up in hospital as a result of harmful drinking. The study found that as the density of off-licenses in any given area increases, so do alcohol specific hospital admissions.

Alcohol Concern has posited that the prevalence and use of off-licenses is increasing mainly due to the recession. More people are using the outlets simply because they cannot afford to go to public houses where the price of drinks is likely to be a lot higher. Consumption of alcohol in pubs is also on the whole a lot lower than it is when drinking externally. Young people under the age of 18 use devious ways of accessing drink by asking friends, relatives or even strangers to buy it for them if they do not feel they could get away with doing it themselves.

The key to successful alcohol addcition treatment is spotting the signs of alcoholism ealry, but most of all acting upon it and getting the treatment you need and deserve.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK and Special Advisor on alcohol to the Royal College of Physicians, said: "This research further underlines the need for a comprehensive alcohol strategy from the Government, which tackles the affordability, promotion and the availability of alcohol."

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