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Young and Alcohol - A new approach launched in Government Action Plan

Institute of Alcohol Studies Comment

IAS welcome the Youth Alcohol Action Plan as an overdue step in the right direction. We welcome particularly the setting up of an expert panel to advise the Chief Medical Officer on the evidence in regard to alcohol consumption and the health and welbeing of children and adolescents. IAS is represented on this expert panel.

However, while welcoming the launch of the new plan, IAS cautions that:

  • the problems of teenage drinking cannot be tackled in isolation from those of the wider society, in particular those in young adults;
  • as well as reacting to obvious and growing social and health problems caused by a culture of heavy teenage drinking and intoxication, a more strategic approach could be adopted to tackle the reasons for this culture developing in the first place. This would involve reducing the exposure of children and adolescents to intensive and highly sophisticated alcohol advertising and marketing which is unhelpful in the present context;
  • the impact of the youth alcohol action plan would be enhanced by combining it with the introduction of a new lower (effectively zero) blood alcohol limit for novice drivers.