On Thursday 13th December at the Full Council Meeting, I proposed a motion in support of the Violence Reduction Unit's Christmas Alcohol Awareness Campaign. The following text was agreed unanimously by councillors from all political parties.
"Council welcomes the launch of the Violence Reduction Unit's Christmas Alcohol Awareness Campaign.
Council agrees to support this campaign by encouraging parents and carers to think about their drinking behaviour and to be positive role models for their children by drinking responsibly during the festive season.
Working with other agencies, businesses and the voluntary sector, the Council will continue to seek to change our heavy drinking culture. The Council will develop projects for all primary schools to educate children and young people about the dangers of underage drinking."
This motion is seeking support for an alcohol awareness campaign to bring about a change in attitudes and reduction in the harm caused by alcohol misuse.
Drinking alcohol is seen as an important part of Glasgow culture. Socialising with friends work colleagues and family, with alcoholic beverages in hand, is a key part of the festive celebrations. This should be a memorable and enjoyable time. However, there is a tendency for people in Glasgow to drink more heavily than people living in other parts of the UK. Getting drunk can bring about serious problems for individuals themselves but creates wider negative consequences for the city.
Binge drinking has many dangers including alcoholism, symptoms of depression and increased risk of committing suicide. Not being able to perform well at work cost businesses through lost productivity and sick days. Heavy drinking can lead to serious health consequences. It damages almost every organ in the body. It is not necessary for the individual to be a full-blown alcoholic in order to develop serious problems. For example, one episode of binge drinking could be enough for someone to develop liver disease. When people drink a large amount in a short period of time, it means they become more prone to accidents.
Glasgow City Council is involved in taking joint action with other agencies and communities to tackle our city's drink problems.Giving support to the Violence Reduction Unit's Christmas Campaign takes forward our efforts to support parents and carers and helps in protecting children from the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
As councillors, we can assist in work to address binge drinking generally, but support specific resources needed to offer learning activities about alcohol for children and young people.
More children and young people than ever are drinking alcohol, and they are also drinking larger quantities than in the past. This is worrying news because the younger people are when they begin drinking the more likely they are to become alcoholics later on. Underage drinking also interferes with normal adolescent development, and it prevents young people from performing well at school.
We have to support efforts to bring about sustainable reductions in violence within Glasgow. A key aspect of this work is sharing expertise with the Violence Reduction Unit and developing educational opportunities for children and young people about the dangers of underage and binge drinking.
Violence Reduction Unit - http://www.actiononviolence.co.uk/