An Oxfordshire charity has launched a campaign to warn young people against the dangers of excess alcohol consumption and drug misuse over the Christmas period.
CAN, part of Recovery Focus, the national group of mental health and substance misuse charities, launched their ‘Staying Safe at Christmas’ campaign to support young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse.
Leigh Rusling, service manager for CAN in Oxfordshire has urged young people to get behind the campaign and beware of the dangers of alcohol and substance misuse.
He said: “We’re calling on young people to not let alcohol ruin Christmas. We all know that Christmas is a time for overindulgence, but we’re reminding young people about the risks of substance misuse and reminding them to take extra care.
“We’re targeting ‘party goers’ over the festive period to let people know about the harm of binge drinking and the risks that these can lead to both in terms of their health as well as their personal safety.”
As part of the campaign, CAN will be providing young people with a ‘night out on the town, drug and alcohol survival pack’ containing useful information on who to contact in case of an emergency as well as information on the risks associated with substance misuse.
In the last decade, the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in 15 – 24 year olds nationwide increased by 57 per cent for men and 76 per cent for women.
Figures also show that younger people throughout the UK are more likely to engage in risky behaviour whilst under the influence with over 34 per cent of 16-17 year olds admitting to walking home alone whilst drunk and 11 per cent of 15-16 year olds admitting to having sex whilst drunk and regretting it.
Excess alcohol consumption also resulted in an increase in antisocial behaviour with over 10,000 fines handed out to young people in the UK every year for drink related offences and 10 per cent of 15-16 year olds getting into trouble with the police.
Mr Rusling added: “We’re reminding young people to do what they can when they’re out. It’s the simple things like eating before you go out, ensuring you have money set aside for a taxi and making sure you keep condoms with you.
“We’re also reminding people to be vigilant, making sure you stay with your friends, keeping an eye on your drink to avoid spiking and to making sure you head home after a night out to avoid any trouble.”
‘Staying safe at Christmas’ will run throughout December. To find out more about the campaign and the work CAN do to support young people affected by substance misuse, visit: www.CAN.org.uk
For more information on Recovery Focus and the groups’ work to support people living with mental health and substance misuse problems visit www.recoveryfocus.org.uk