I am as shocked as most people will be to learn that North Tyneside is one of the ten worst areas in the UK for underage drinking.
Preventing and tackling alcohol-related illnesses, crime and anti-social behaviour is a priority for the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, and clearly more needs to be done.
Young people are seldom aware of the long-term consequences of drinking from an early age, but they need to know what affect it has on internal organs, as well as their judgements in dealing with daily life.
Drinking for some is from boredom or bravado, but it can be frightening when young people parade around under the influence of cheap drink, and it is degrading for youngsters who find themselves under the influence.
But where does the alcohol come from?
The council has recently updated its liquor licensing policy after consultation, examines each new application thoroughly, and responds to police and public reports of abuses of conditions
Shop owners and assistants will have to be more vigilant about selling (they all have Challenge 25 schemes) and shoplifting.
Trading Standards Officers must act upon every report of underage sales, and parents need to know what they are missing from their drinks’ cupboard. Adults also need to be aware that it is a criminal offence to buy alcohol for young people.
Like every council under this government, the budget for working with young people has disappeared and public health funding reduced. Schools are struggling to do their job of teaching our children the basic curriculum, so who is responsible?
Some people may not like to hear this, but every adult is responsible for safeguarding our children.
Coun Muriel Green
Vice Chairman North Tyneside Health and Wellbeing Board