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Alcohol use in children and young people

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Whilst the majority of young people do not use alcohol or drugs, and most of those that do are not dependent, drug and alcohol misuse can have a major impact on young people's education, their health, their families and their long-term chances in life.

Facts and Figure

Blackpool Health Related Behaviour Survey (2015)

In the Health Related Behaviour Survey (2015), produced by the Schools and Students Health Education Unit (SHEU), it was reported 6% of boys and 2% of girls in year 6 (aged 10-11) said that they drank an alcoholic drink (more than just a sip) in the week before the survey. And, 9% of Year 8 (aged 12-13) and 22% of year 10 (aged 14-15) pupils said they drank alcohol on at least one day in the week before the survey.

When young people were asked for the main reason for drinking alcohol, 77% of drinkers said it was 'often' or 'always' to socialise and have fun and 32% of drinkers said 'to get drunk'. 11% of pupils reported that in the last year they have been drunk at least 'once or twice a month'.

The survey also reported that 1% of year 10 pupils bought alcohol in the last 7 days from a supermarket and 3% from an off-licence who should only sell to over-18s.

When looking at the changes in alcohol data between the previous SHEU survey in 2007 and the 2015 data, there is a downward trend locally in alcohol use amongst all age groups in the survey. However, when comparing the Blackpool data to the wider SHEU survey sample, young people in Blackpool are reporting to have drunk more alcohol than their comparators from other areas.

North West Young Peoples' Alcohol and Tobacco Survey (2013)

The Young Persons' Alcohol and Tobacco Survey has been conducted in the North West every two years since 2005. The survey questionnaire was largely the same to that used in previous surveys to enable tracking of results. A total of 20,425 questionnaires were completed and returned.

The report summarises the key findings of a survey to assess the behaviour and attitudes of 14 to 17 year olds in the North West towards alcohol. The key responses were:

    • Increasing percentages of 14-17 year olds in the North West are drinking alcohol less often or not at all.
    • The percentage of 14-17 year olds claiming that they never drink alcohol has increased from 20% to 32%.
    • Smirnoff and WKD remain the preferred alcohol brands amongst 14-17 year olds, and Budweiser has emerged as the most popular lager brand.
    • Where drinking alcohol, the choice of what to drink is most often influenced by the individual taste preferences. Price, brand and strength are also key influences.

Attitudes and behaviour towards drinking alcohol is not significantly different from the survey two years previously in 2011, although there was:

    • A significant fall since 2011 in the percentage of 14-17 year olds drinking alcohol just to get drunk (53% in 2011, 37% in 2013)
    • A continuing fall in the percentage of young people drinking alcohol because there is nothing else to do (28% in 2011 down to 19% in 2013)
    • A continuing fall in the percentage of 14-17 year olds claiming to have been violent or got in a fight whilst drunk (29% in 2011 down to 18% in 2013)
    • The majority of 14-17 year olds think that getting drunk is fun (72%) and that it is normal to get drunk (57%). These views become more engrained with age.
    • Two-fifths of young people are not really worried about the long term health effects of drinking alcohol. This view becomes more common with age.

What About YOUth? Survey 2014

What About YOUth? 2014 (WAY 2014) is a newly-established survey designed to collect robust local authority (LA) level data on a range of health behaviours amongst 15 year-olds.

    • A higher proportion of Blackpool 15 year olds have had an alcoholic drink (71% compared to 62.4% nationally) and 15.8% report having been drunk in the past 4 weeks.

Hospital admissions due to alcohol specific conditions

In the 3 year period 2011/12 - 2013/14, 85 young people living in Blackpool under the age of 18 years were admitted to hospital due to alcohol specific conditions. This is a rate of 100 per 100,000 population, significantly higher than the national average of 40 per 1000,000.

Local Services

The Hub- Blackpools Young People's Drug Alcohol Service offers 1-1 treatment, support, advice and information for young people, parents, carers and professionals around drug and alcohol misuse. As well as 1-1 work with young people, the hub also offers group work for young people who are actively misusing substances to raise their awareness and to offer support. Referral is by self-referral or can be made by a family member, friend, or professional. There is also a drop in service available every Monday to Friday at Connect on Talbot Road from 1.00 - 4.00pm. People with concerns can call in and ask to speak to a hub worker.

National and local strategies

    • Blackpool Alcohol Strategy (2013-2016) - This strategy is set out in sections that highlight the many areas of our lives touched by alcohol misuse in Blackpool.
    • Blackpool Children & Young People's Plan (2013 ‐ 2016) - The Children and Young People's Plan provides an opportunity to review how effective the council has been in putting things in place to make continuous improvements for children and young people in Blackpool. It allows the council to focus their priorities on local needs and to ensure that children and young people are driving the change with the council.
    • Together on Poverty Blackpool's Child Poverty Framework (2012-2015) - The Child Poverty Framework addresses the requirements of the Child Poverty Act 2010. This Act means the Council must develop a Child Poverty Strategy which aims to reduce and mitigate the effects of child poverty in Blackpool. The Council must work with local partner organisations to achieve this.
    • Blackpool Community Safety Plan (2012-2015) - This Community Safety Plan builds upon the Blackpool Community Safety Partnership 2012 Strategic Assessment which sets out the analysis of crime, disorder and substance misuse and has identified the priorities that are the greatest threat to local people and where successful interventions will improve the quality of life in Blackpool. These priorities are Domestic Abuse, Violent Crime, Substance Misuse - Drugs, Substance Misuse - Alcohol and Anti-Social Behaviour.
    • NICE guideline [PH7] Alcohol: school-based interventions, (November 2007) provides recommendations that focus on encouraging children not to drink, delaying the age at which they start drinking and reducing the harm it can cause among those who do drink.