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DCSF has the policy-lead across Government for young people and alcohol, aiming to reduce the level of alcohol consumption and the harms associated with drinking amongst under-18s, as set out in the Youth Alcohol Action Plan (June 2008) and the PSA 14 indicator on substance misuse by young people.

Young people were introduced as a priority in the updated alcohol strategy, Safe. Sensible. Social. The Government has strengthened its focus on this by publishing a Youth Alcohol Action Plan, in response to rising levels of alcohol unit consumption amongst young people who drink, and concerns relating to anti-social behaviour and crime.

The Youth Alcohol Action Plan seeks to:

It should however be remembered that ultimately, drinking is down to individual choice, and it is parents who raise their children, not Government. However, Government recognises its responsibility to provide parents with advice and information on the risks of alcohol and drugs on young people. The Why Let Drink Decide? campaign aims to do just that: provide advice and information that parents and young people will find helpful and which may help parents set clear boundaries with their children about alcohol consumption.

Key data:


* Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use by Young People in England in 2008 (published 2009)

** Health Behaviour in Scholl-aged Children (HBSC) study 2005-06

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Last updated on 01/03/2010