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Mayor backs new study into underage drinking

18 May 2015

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane is calling on local parents to support a new study aimed at identifying some of the factors contributing to the problem of underage drinking.

Councillor Elisha McCallion explained that the study, which is being carried out by the Drink Think Project with support from Parenting NI, will focus on the role parents have in influencing children’s habits.

“Underage drinking has become a major problem and one which has a direct impact on anti-social behaviour and mental health issues among young people. There is alarming evidence that very young children are now drinking regularly and we must take urgent action as a community to address this issue.

“Parents play a primary role in influencing children and setting an example and I would encourage all local parents to contribute to this study so this research can inform new approaches to the problem.”

The Drink Think Project is an alcohol awareness project based in Derry which aims to encourage local people to adopt a sensible and responsible approach to alcohol. The group works with families, alcohol retailers, workplaces and the general public in new and challenging ways, to promote a cultural change to alcohol misuse.

According to research approximately 68% of 12-17 year olds in Derry have tried alcohol and many under 18’s drink alcohol, either with the permission of their parents or by obtaining alcohol from friends, relatives or by asking other adults to purchase it on their behalf.

In 2011, the Drink Think Project undertook a study into the use of alcohol by young people which identified that some young people began drinking as young as 11-years-old, and over half (52%) of the young people who consumed alcohol did so at least once a week. There was also evidence of excessive alcohol consumption across all age ranges.

Research indicates that parents may have more of an influence over their child’s drinking than they realise. The Drink Think Project has commissioned Parenting NI to undertake the study of parental influences on young people’s drinking in the Derry area. Parenting NI are a charity which supports parents through a free telephone helpline and counselling service, parenting education as well as lobbying on issues that are important to parents.

Parenting NI are inviting parents of 12 – 17 year olds living in the Cityside, Waterside and rural areas of Derry to take part in a short anonymous online survey. The survey can be found at http://drinkthink.questionpro.com and the closing date for responses is Sunday 31st May 2015.

For any further information, please contact Claire Robinson at the Drink Think Project on (028) 7136 3925 or Clare-Anne Magee at Parenting NI on 028 9031 0891.