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Alcoholics to lecture young on dangers of drink

Health boards are to receive £36m to help fight Scotland’s culture of alcohol abuse.

Part of the funding will be spent on projects where recovering alcoholics will mentor youngsters on the dangers of drinking too much.

The largest single handout will go to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which will receive more than £9m. NHS Lothian will receive £5.3m.

Most of the money will be spent on treatment for people whose alcohol problems have already been identified, but some will be spent on “brief interventions” for those who turn up at GP surgeries and other health premises with drink-related problems needing advice.

Public Health Minister Shona Robison yesterday visited alcohol counselling service Liber8 in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire, to announce the funding.

Ms Robison said: “Scotland’s alcohol misuse problem is costing our country £2.25bn and blighting the lives of families and communities across the country.

“This further significant investment will help to turn lives around across Scotland by identifying and treating people in need of help.

“And that’s good for everyone because if we can tackle problems head-on we can prevent a lot of misery to individuals and families, as well as knock-on costs for the taxpayer.”

Thousands of young people have been helped by Liber8’s StreetBase wing, which offers diversionary alternatives to alcohol.

The project has a team of street workers who befriend young alcohol abusers and offer them the chance to break out of a drinking cycle that often results in anti-social behaviour, fighting and getting into trouble with the police. It also allows young people to get involved in street teams to help out heavy-drinking friends.

Tony Brown, 15, of Blantyre, said: “I do have a drink, but I don’t have issues. Some of my pals drink heavily, but not me.

“I’m really the one that’s looking after them. When they are steaming, I make sure they don’t do anything stupid.

“If they are about to get into a fight through drink or if they do something stupid, I stop it.”

Nicole Wilson, 18, also of Blantyre, has seen very young people drinking in the street and did not think it was healthy.

She said: “They don’t know the effects it can have on other people.

“I’ve been in some states and I’ve seen a lot young people still getting drunk just cause their pals are doing it’.

“I’ve seen them as young as 10. It’s far too young to be drinking alcohol, you’re supposed to be at primary school. But I do know that I can help because I’ve been their myself.”

Nicole Paterson, 18, from Hamilton, has been involved with StreetBase for two years.

She said: “I was out drinking every night and was getting into trouble and getting hurt. When I got involved in the scheme they explained the dangers of what I was doing.

“Even within myself I’ve realised how much I didn’t know about alcohol.

“It’s helped me, knowing that I’m helping others, and given me more self- confidence.”

Eddie Menzies, 19, of Hamilton, said: “I used to go out during the week, as well as the weekend, and get drunk because there was nothing to do. Throughout the week I was drinking about 2.5 litres of vodka.

“I couldn’t walk, was abusive to the police and used to get into fights with everybody. I met the mentors on the street and began volunteering. I’ve now been doing it for two years.”

source: The Herald

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