Children call for help over alcohol fears

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POLICE and health workers are urging people to think carefully about their alcohol intake over the festive period after revealing that more than 100 children a week are calling a helpline with concerns about their parents’ drink or drug use.

A multi-agency partnership including the emergency services, the NHS, East Riding Council and Safer Roads Humber will launch the Think B 4 U Drink campaign next week.

The road safety team leader at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, Louise Marritt, said: “This campaign brings together a number of agencies that see the effects of alcohol in a number of different, and sometimes unexpected, ways. By working together we’re able to combine our resources and reach many more people and show the combined effect of alcohol on each of our organisations and on individuals.”

She also warned drivers to be on their guard as the weather worsens.

“I urge drivers to take extra care when driving, especially as the winter weather draws in,” she said. “If the roads are icy, reduce your speed, it could save your life or the life of a fellow motorist. For those who ride push bikes and motor bikes, remember to always wear hi-vis clothing, it is important to be bright and be seen.”

But the focus is on trying to raise awareness of the dangers of heavy drinking over Christmas.

In a bid to promote healthier alternatives, health trainers at Humber NHS Foundation Trust have produced a free “mocktail” booklet listing alcohol-free cocktails.

Service manager Natalie Belt said: “Mocktails are healthy and fun to drink. If you are having a party this Christmas, be a good host and have some refreshingly tempting options available.

“The booklet we’ve produced can be picked up at one of the events we are running during alcohol awareness week in Bridlington, Goole and Withernsea. With alcohol-related incidents increasing year on year across the East Riding, we are asking people to seriously consider how much they plan to drink on a night and how they intend to get home without driving.”

The campaign is also launching Think B 4 U Drink website to promote the initiative and provide information and advice.

A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said: “For many of us, drinking with friends and family is one of life’s pleasures. We use alcohol to unwind, to celebrate, to have a laugh and to socialise, but alcohol can also have a negative side to it.

“Having too much to drink on a night out can not only give you a hang over but can leave you in very dangerous situations - like getting into a fight, making you vulnerable to sexual assault, being tempted to drive home drunk, or accidentally setting fire to the house making some supper.

“Drinking too much over a long time can also have long terms risk to your health, your relationships and your family.”

Ms Belt added: “We want people to have a Christmas full of cheer but you don’t need to drink to be merry. More than 100 children a week are turning to ChildLine helpline with worries about their parents’ drinking or drug use.”

The campaign will be launched at Cottingham Civic Hall on Tuesday, and members of the initiative will be staging a series of events throughout the week, offering advice and road safety demonstrations. For more details visit the website www.thinkB4Udrink.org.