Government consults on youth alcohol consumption guidance
The government is giving key stakeholders and partners, including health professionals, the opportunity to shape guidance published this month on alcohol consumption, for parents of under-18s.
The guidance, published on 29 January by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) will empower parents and carers to educate their children and make sensible choices about consumption.
The consultation will engage with the people who can make a difference, including health professionals, teachers, youth workers, peer educators and GPs, on the guidance's content and delivery.
While an alcohol-free childhood is recommended by Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, the harsh reality is that by the age of 15 many children have already consumed alcohol and substantial numbers drink weekly.
Nearly 10,000 children aged 11-17 are admitted to hospital each year in the UK as a result of their alcohol consumption, with 6,000 of these aged 11-15. The reasons include alcohol poisoning and injuries.
Parents and young people have asked for a clear message on the health effects of alcohol consumption on young people and what the boundaries should be on when and how children could be introduced to alcohol, and have asked for more information on which to base their decisions and choices.
The five-point medical guidance will form part of the consultation launched by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls; Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, and the Chief Medical Officers of the UK.