Daily Archives: 19/11/2014

Passive Drinking

A really excellent Campaign Launch Report was shared by Drinkwise recently called ‘Alcohol and Childhood Don’t Mix’ and you can see the full report here and you can find their website at: www.LookAgainAtAlcohol.org.uk

It opens with “this investigation uncovers a shocking truth – we are failing to protect our children from the negative consequences of alcohol.”
I was really struck by some of the statistics in this report, some I’ll discuss here and one other set deserve a blog post of their own.
These statistics relate to the impact of other people’s drinking on children:
  • 8% neglected or not well looked after
  • 8% missed school
  • 6% mentally affected
  • 12% anxious, upset or worried
  • 2% missed health appointments
  • 5% missed leisure activities
  • 3% in physical danger

They may seem small numbers but children are dependent on adults for their physical and emotional health and well-being and so are not able to be responsible for themselves.  Plus a report by the children’s commissioner has found that social services support for alcohol misuse is failing to look beyond the impact on the individual.

Joanna Manning, national lead on substance misuse for The Children’s Society, said: “Children and young people are suffering the impact of their parents’ drinking for a long time before it comes to the notice of the authorities – if at all. Even then, the routes to help and the services available are ad hoc and vary across the country.

“Local authorities tend to focus on young people’s own drinking without consideration that it might be learnt or normalised behaviour from their parents. Equally, not enough is being done to address and support parents who drink, in order to reduce the impact upon children and families.”

Statistics relating to drinking patterns and behaviours of 14-17 year olds who drink alcohol:

  • 72% think that getting drunk is fun
  • 57% believe that it is normal to get drunk
  • 40% are not worried about the long term health effects
  • 54% binge drink
  • 37% drink just to get drunk
Underpinning these trends is a surprising connection from very young children to the adult drinking world, and also misperceptions about what level of alcohol consumption is “normal”. A survey of 9-11 year-olds showed that 3-in-5 think it is normal to drink to forget your problems, 27% think beer drinkers consume 4-6 pints in an evening and 30% think wine drinkers drink 5 or more glasses a night.
Plus the impact of living in a home where alcohol abuse is an issue can last a lifetime. And the behaviours unfortunately can be self-perpetuating as reflected in these statistics:
  • 30+ sexual partners:  3.6 times more likely
  • Sexually transmitted diseases: 2.5 times more likely
  • Anxiety: 2.5 times more likely
  • Severe obesity: 1.9 times more likely
  • Current smoker: 1.8 times more likely
  • Alcoholism: 7.2 times more likely
  • Perpetrating partner violence: 2.5 times more likely
‘Passive drinking kills. It causes family breakdown and violent crime. It costs the economy billions of pounds.  It causes misery. It affects many spheres of life and leaves no communities untouched.’
Sir Liam Donaldson, 2009 CMO Report