Police Warning over Parents Buying Children Alcohol

Young people will always seek to break the rules but underage drinking by adolescents in one region of Scotland has led to an unprecedented warning from the police to parents.

Responding to incidents where young teenagers in the Forth Valley have been found intoxicated after imbibing illegally on alcohol, Police Scotland have urged parents not to buy their youngsters alcohol. Many parents believe if they buy their offspring alcohol, they can control how much they consume and this, in turn, can lead the children to become more responsible when drinking.

The incidents include one where a 13-year-old girl had to be hospitalised after she was found unconscious while another featured a 15-year-old girl who had an adverse reaction to the drink she had been imbibing and who was taken to hospital by ambulance when her friends raised the alarm. The police’s warning is intended to alert parents to the dangers of under-age drinking.

Chief Superintendent Davie Flynn is Forth Valley Divisional Commander of Police Scotland. He said: “These girls have been found so drunk they have no idea where they were or what they had been being doing. They are leaving themselves more exposed to being a victim of crime through their consumption of alcohol.”

Spot checks by undercover officers appear to support the police’s belief that shopkeepers are not selling alcohol to under 18 year olds and Chief Supt Flynn said: “This would strongly suggest that adults are providing alcohol to those under age. It may well be done by parents with the best of intentions of teaching their children responsible drinking by giving them a couple of bottles of beer or alcopops for a party.

“But what some parents are failing to realise is that by the time their children get to the party, these bottles have multiplied by everyone else adding to the available alcohol and there can be rogue bottles of vodka and whisky added to it.”

Scotland has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the world and successive governments have tried to reduce the nation’s reliance on booze through education programs and advertising campaigns. The legal age for alcohol consumption is 18.

Chief Supt Flynn said: “This isn’t about young people drinking a small amount of alcohol socially – it is about them drinking so much to excess that they are unable to look after themselves and are putting themselves at risk.

“Parents may think they are doing the right thing but Scotland’s relationship with alcohol is such that some young people think they have to go out and get so drunk they can’t look after themselves.”

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