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Sunday 24th June 2018

Parents 'fuelling' binge drinking

17th December 2009

The chief medical officer for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, has warned that parents who allow their children alcohol at home may be increasing the chances of future drinking problems.


He said parents letting children taste alcohol to ready them for adulthood was a "misguided" approach because there was evidence that this could lead to binge drinking later in life.

Sir Liam said: "Across England, 500,000 children between the ages of 11 to 15 years will have been drunk in the past four weeks.

“The science is clear - drinking, particularly at a young age, a lack of parental supervision, exposing children to drink-fuelled events and failing to engage with them as they grow up are the root causes from which our country's serious alcohol problem has developed."

In announcing a publicity campaign in England starting in January, he warned that the more a child gets the taste for alcohol, the more likely they will become heavy drinkers when they grow up.

New official guidance says children under 15 should drink no alcohol and under-17s drink under supervision, though the law still allows parents to give children alcohol at home from the age of five.

A similar initiative is about to get under way in Scotland.

Campaign groups such as Alcohol Concern and Parentline Plus have welcomed the move.

Parentline Plus chief executive Jeremy Todd said: “Parents can have a huge influence on their child's drinking choices.”

He said it was crucial for parents to talk to their children about alcohol and its effects.


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