Initiative to tackle underage drinking hailed a success

A CAMPAIGN aimed at tackling the problem of underage drinking has been hailed a success following a 37 percent decrease in street drinking.

East Dunbartonshire Council’s initiative - Be Your Own Boss - has seen incidents of alcohol related disorder fall across the district following the hard hitting campaign run by the Council’s Licensing Standards Department.

The initiative ran from March to December 2011 and promoted a healthier lifestyle to young people whilst tackling rouge premises selling drink to underage customer.

As well as the 37 percent drop in street drinking, there was also a nine percent fall in disorder and encouragingly 80 percent of licensees surveyed felt that less young people attempted to buy alcohol in the months following the campaign.

During the campaign 4,300 secondary school children in the area took part in an interactive role play game and power point presentation which highlighted the harmful effects of alcohol misuse on their health and well being. Youngsters were also encouraged to take up a sporting activity and were offered passes for local sports centres.

Community Protection, Strathclyde Police, Young Persons Alcohol Prevention Team and the Central Health Improvement Alcohol and Drug Team were also involved in the campaign, as well as Rangers and Celtic Football clubs.

On the enforcement front the Council’s licensing team distributed 24 warning notices to premises with two licenses permanently revoked.

Ashay Ghai, depute leader of the Council and convener of housing and community services, said: “Young people are often faced with difficult decisions which can ultimately have a detrimental effect on their health and well-being and I am delighted that so many young people in East Dunbartonshire have decided to be their own boss.

“I believe that this campaign has been so successful because it focused on all the elements which contribute to underage drinking; tackling rogue licensees; promoting positive role models; and offering positive alternatives. It has been an excellent example of the benefits of partnership working and I am hopeful that we can build on this and continue to work together to tackle underage drinking in East Dunbartonshire.”