Onus on alcohol retailers not to sell drink to under-age teens
Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, is urging parents and junior Certs to “make a who, what, where, when, how ” plan in the run up to Wednesday night ’s celebrations.
Charity Director Fiona Ryan said: “We would ask parents and teens to sit down together and make a plan for celebrations that includes:
· Who are you celebrating with
· What are you going to be doing
· Where is it going to be happening
· When are you planning on arriving and leaving
· How are you getting there and back
“It is a time of well deserved celebration. For some teenagers their celebration plans will involve alcohol – some will feel that they have to drink to celebrate even though they may not want to and others will feel even pressured to do so. It is important to remind teenagers that ‘not everybody is doing it ’ and support teenagers not to drink; half of teenagers do drink regularly but half don ’t, ” said Ms Ryan.
“At the same time we need to be very aware that a teenager who does drink may end up in situations where he or she feels uncomfortable or scared as a result of their own or someone else ’s drinking. Teenagers need to know as parents that while you may not be happy with the fact they have been drinking, their safety is your priority and that they are to contact you if they are in trouble, ” said Ms Ryan.
“Unfortunately for both parents and children, teenagers tell us they have no problems accessing alcohol. We know from what teenagers tell us themselves that the vast majority, 84%, have no problem getting access to alcohol.
“Cheap widely available alcohol where a young person can get drunk for €10 is not helping the situation either and we know that young people are highly aware of priced-based special promotions. A quarter of 15 and 16-year-olds have purchased alcohol from an off-license or supermarket while 37% have been served in a pub or nightclub. There is a real and immediate obligation on alcohol retailers – pubs, nightclubs, supermarkets and off-licenses to ensure that they are not selling alcohol to underage drinkers, ” said Ms Ryan.
Note to editors
The above statistics are taken from the recent European School Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) survey. It found that while the number of teenagers who drank had experienced a small decrease, when they do drink Irish teenagers tend to drink more than their European counterparts. It found that young people in Ireland have a particular problem with binge drinking as average alcohol consumption on the last drinking day among Irish teenagers was 6.7cl of pure alcohol, compared with 5.1cl across the rest of Europe.
Parents who would like to find out more information on talking to their children about drinking can read more in the Alcohol and You section of www.alcoholireland.ie
For further information or comment please contact Alcohol Action Ireland Communications Officer Conor Cullen on 01-8780610 or 087-7530576.