Shock rise in Wirral teenage alcohol deaths

Twenty-six young people in Wirral died alcohol-related deaths during the period between 2001 and 2008, a special study has revealed.

And recent findings by the North West Public Health Observatory ranked Wirral 323rd out of 326 local authorioty areas for alcohol-specified hospital admissions for the under 18s.

In addition a strategic assessment for Wirral, produced by Wirral NHS for 2009/10 estimated that in the 16-plus age range there were 57,220 drinkers categorised as "hazardous," 16,500 drinkers were classed as "harmful," and 11,852 were shown as "dependent."

The shock findings are contained in a special review, ordered by Wirral Council's scrutiny programme board, of the impact of alcohol on Wirral's young people.

The working party which carried out the review made a series of recommendations to the council which will be studied by the scrutiny programme board tomorrow tonight (Wednesday).

They include:

*A request for the council to recognise the importance and continued prioity of education for young people regarding the dangers of alcolhol misuse.

* Urging the local authotiy to lobby the Home Office to limit the promotion of the Sale of alcohol; restrict the use of alcohol as a loss leader by supermarkets and other retail outlets and reducing the scale of proxy sales by imposing greater fines on people buying alcohol for under-age drinkers.

* Calling on the council to engage in the process to introduce a regional minimum price for alcohol in the Merseyside region.

*And pressing for the council to introduce a "cumulative impact policy" - similar to that introduced in Liverpool and Brighton - to tackle the increase in alcohol sales outlets in hotspot areas.

The report also points out that since 2006/7 there has been a continual reduction in alcohol-specific hospital admissions for young people.

This, it said, reflected the significant amount of work done through the Wirral Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy.

The report states: "It was apparent during the review that a huge amount of work is taking place in an effort to both educate and guide young people away from alcohol misuse; as well as to reduce the supply of alcohol to young people whever possible."

It also insisted the involvement of parents was critical in educating children about alcohol misuse.