A play outlining the health risks of underage drinking has been performed in local schools in an attempt to address the problem.
Lisburn Policing and Community Safety Partnership, in partnership with the police and ASCERT, contacted post primary schools in the Lisburn area regarding the problem, particularly at weekends during the summer period.
Following the response by two of the schools, Fort Hill Integrated College and St Colm’s High School, the partnership hosted a play aimed at minors, to outline the health risks caused by underage drinking and the legal consequences from a policing perspective in each school.
After the play the young audience was engaged in a panel discussion involving the local police and ASCERT.
Speaking about the initiative, Lisburn PCSP Chairman, Councillor Brian Bloomfield said: “The dangers associated with underage drinking are not always obvious to young people, especially the impact that it can have on their future life in terms of their health and well-being. As we approach the summer holidays, local statistics show that there tends to be a rise in the amount of alcohol seized from minors during this period, a trend that we want to see decrease.
“The partnership wished to make it clear to young people that by drinking alcohol underage they are exposing themselves to unnecessary risks that can have long term consequences. The play highlighted some of these dangers and allowed the young people to ask questions relating to the law in respect of this issue.”
Also speaking was Lisburn Chief Inspector Mark Robinson said: “Police in Lisburn fully support any initiative which educates young people about the dangers of underage drinking. Not only are young people who drink alcohol jeopardising their health they are also taking chances with their future. Drinking under the age of 18 is breaking the law and those detected can expect to be reported to the Youth Diversionary Officer and their parents notified. This can diminish education opportunities as many colleges and universities ask for this information on application forms. Alcohol consumption is also a major contributing factor behind anti-social behaviour which can also lead to a criminal conviction.
“We do not want to prevent anyone from having a good time over the forthcoming summer months however we do want to protect our young people from the harm that can come from underage drinking and anti - social behaviour. We will also take enforcement action against anyone supplying or purchasing alcohol to those underage.”