Teen alcohol problems in spotlight

THE drinking habits of the county's youngsters will be discussed today at a conference aimed at tackling the issues surrounding excessive alcohol use.

Anthony Bond

THE drinking habits of the county's youngsters will be discussed today at a conference aimed at tackling the issues surrounding excessive alcohol use.

The talks - organised by Norfolk and Suffolk drug and alcohol charity Norcas - will take place at Ipswich Town Football Club.

A report earlier this year revealed that the east of England has the highest rate of alcohol abuse in the country among children aged 13 to 15.


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According to the findings, from the region's Strategic Health Authority (SHA), 12.6% of youngsters in the east of England aged 13-15 drink seven or more units a week, compared to the national average of 8.2%.

Norcas was commissioned by Suffolk Drug and Alcohol Action Team to deliver a piece of research on young people's drinking habits, behaviours and attitudes.

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Today's conference will discuss recent findings and include talks and lectures from a number of leading officials.

Janet Holmes, service coordinator at Norcas Youth Service, said: “The project enabled us to promote a set of Alco Cards which offers practical harm reduction advice to young people and these were given out to students at schools and colleges across Suffolk.

“Following this we returned to the same venues and students completed questionnaires regarding alcohol. Four focus groups were then set up to discuss young people's views, attitudes and experiences in more depth.”

The conference will discuss these findings with a diverse range of professionals from the eastern region.

This includes the chairperson of Alcohol Concern and the director of Cambridge Health Evaluation Consultancy Ltd.

Emma Hibbert, Adnams corporate affairs manager, will also give a talk on promoting responsible drinking.

Every year £85million is spent in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire on hospital admissions and ambulance journeys related to alcohol misuse.

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