Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Time to go back to school

Published:  18 January, 2007

Another week, another swingeing tax hike on drink to deter young people from alcohol abuse.

Figures indicate it has delayed the age at which kids have their first taste of alcohol and reduced the proportion of children drinking to get drunk from 14% to 9%. That is a significant shift.

No wonder Jonathan is looking both to establish a similar pilot scheme in the UK and to secure Government investment for alcohol education in schools.

Our track record on educating children about alcohol isn't great. We need to face up to that. It simply doesn't get the priority or cash required.

Part of the problem may be our ambivalent attitude to alcohol. We rail against binge-drinking; yet many regard getting drunk as one of the essential rites of passage into adulthood.

So let's remember this isn't just about lessons in schools. It is about engaging parents too.

A recent police clampdown on underage drinking in West Lothian found parents shocked when faced with their children's attempts to use money intended for, say, the cinema to buy alcohol.

Let's provide teachers and parents with the materials to educate children properly. The industry and the Government can work together on this if the political will is there.

And the health lobby can help too. One doctor told us this week that education initiatives don't really work. The Spanish experience suggests otherwise - and I for one think it's something we should try here.

Jeremy Beadles is chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association