Fears as teenage boozing doubles

Teenage drinking is on the rise
Teenage drinking is on the rise

WIGAN is drowning in a sea of chronic under age drinking.

A shock new report found that teenage boozing has more than doubled in the borough in the past decade.

Half of the borough’s 28,000 young people (11-17 years old) say that they consume five or more alcoholic drinks in a single session at least three times a month, with a further 26 per cent claiming to do so at least once a week.

More than 160 young people in Wigan are admitted to hospital each year because of illegal drinking - shockingly 30 of those were between 11 and 15 years old, according to the report by a town hall specialist select committee.

Under 18s are illegally drinking 36,000 pints of beer or 9,000 bottles of wine in a week ... with 2,200 Wigan teenagers claiming to have been “drunk” in the past seven days.

Beer, lager and cider - as is the same nationally - are the drinks of choice.

Although girls drink more spirits and alcopops.

And under age drinking is more of a problem in the summer months because teenagers are “out” more often and for longer periods in temperate weather.

Earlier this year police confiscated a vast quantity of booze from teens at just one park in Wigan.

The report, which is yet to be agreed by the full council meeting in the New Year, urges a more co-ordinated approach to beating the problem.

Chairman of the select committee, Pemberton’s Coun Jeanette Prescott, confirmed that the body was originally constituted to look at the effect of drink AND drugs misuse on under 18s. But the commitee decided that the level of alcohol abuse was now so high in this borough that it was having a “more serious long term, effect” on our teenagers.

She said: “Many, but not all, young people consume alcohol. Telling them simply to stop has little or no effect. As it is not possible to ban or remove alcohol from society, it is important to address the risks and reduce or eliminate the harm which can result.

“It’s imperative to develop sensible messages about alcohol and alcohol consumption which can be delivered to young people from an early age.”

Proxy buy (by adults who should know better) at off licences remain one of the most common ways for youngsters in Wigan to get alcohol.

The Select Committee is now recommending Metro executive director of environmental services join forces with the police to investigate what new action can be taken to prevent adults from buying drink for under 18s, and ensure that off licence holders know of the potential criminal prosecution consequences of selling alcohol to young people.

Director of Children and Young People’s services Nick Hudson is also being urged to give Wigan’s Young Peoples Drug and Alcohol Team a stronger co-ordinating role in leading the fight against teenage drinking.