Meet the MacPhersons campaign to tackle underage drinking

Issued by NHS Highland

Almost three quarters of young people in Highland have drunk alcohol by the time they are 15 and, although there has been a 10% reduction since 2010, Highland remains above the national average despite recommendations that those under the age of 15 refrain from drinking.

Deborah Stewart, coordinator for Highland Alcohol & Drugs Partnership explained that families played an important part in helping reduce the level of underage drinking.

She said: “Underage drinking remains a concern as it contributes to a range of negative health and social outcomes. There is also evidence that shows early alcohol use is associated with increased risk of dependency in adulthood and chronic diseases associated with excessive drinking in adults.

“By reducing underage drinking we can reduce the risk of alcohol problems developing in adulthood and families can play a part in that by modelling sensible drinking, communicating risks associated with drinking and participating in positive activities. That’s why we would like families to ‘Meet the MacPhersons’.”

‘Meet the MacPhersons’ is a local media campaign that takes a family approach to tackling underage drinking. It is based on insight gathered from over 200 young people and 20 parents on the types of dilemmas families with teenagers are often faced with in relation to alcohol.

Ms Stewart said: “Meet the MacPhersons raises awareness of the influence that parental influence, peer pressure and taking part in organised activities can have on a young person's decision to either drink or not drink.

“It also looks at the adverse effects that underage drinking can have on the performance and health of young people as well as the detrimental impact that parents can have on their life if they drink too much.”

Cath King, health policy manager with Highland Council who are partners in the initiative said; “The campaign will compliment the substance misuse framework we have developed for schools and the on-line substance misuse toolkit that anyone can access for information.”

Elspeth Lee, health improvement specialist with NHS Highland, said “We are very grateful to all those in our partner agencies who helped us access the opinions of young people and parents, and of course to all the young people and parents themselves. Without them this would not have been possible.”

The campaign encourages families to consider the benefits of making positive choices that are less pro-alcohol. It provides lots of useful resources on ways to prevent and discuss drinking with teenagers and where to get help in the local area.

For more information:


1 Dec 2015
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