North East families warned of booze dangers as Covid-19 lockdown restrictions change
Parents are being urged to keep any eye on their teenagers as coronavirus lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
Alcohol awareness group Balance launched a new campaign following reports of young people gathering to drink alcohol and use other substances.
The What’s the Harm? campaign across Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham will be running across radio and online for seven weeks.
Most alcohol consumed by children comes from the family home and parents may unknowingly be undermining the law, risking health and fuelling anti-social behaviour by supplying it.
Balance is encouraging parents to visit the campaign website for advice.
Director Colin Shevills said: “It is clear the easing of lockdown has brought with it a release for our teenagers. The problem is that adding alcohol can create a potentially dangerous mix.
“Nobody wants to think their child might be the one getting drunk, taking risks, having an accident or getting into a situation they can’t handle.
"So we are urging parents to think twice about supplying alcohol and undermining over 18 laws which exist to protect our children.
“The fact is most of the alcohol which children drink comes from the family home. There is a myth that it makes them less curious – however it is more likely to give the green light to regular drinking and all the risks that come with it.”
Official figures show around one in 10 pupils aged between 11 and 15 in the region have drunk alcohol in the last week.
Inspector Donald Wade, of Northumbria Police, added: “The overwhelming majority of young people are an absolute credit to themselves and the communities where they live.
"However, we know that alcohol can be a factor in drawing under-age teenagers into anti-social behaviour which can have a corrosive impact on their local area.
“During lockdown, we have seen an increase in the number of some reported crimes including anti-social behaviour, with a significant proportion of those incidents referring to suspected breaches of Covid-19 regulations which have been reported to us by members of the public.
“We all have a responsibility to respect our communities and our fellow citizens and we must not undermine everything we have sacrificed during lockdown.”