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D&A Strategy raises awareness of binge-drinking dangers 17 June 2008

Image from binge-drinking TV advertising campaignTHE Chief Minister’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy is using the launch of shocking new TV images to remind Isle of Man residents about the dangers of binge-drinking.

The adverts, to be broadcast in the early evening and again later at night, are part of a £4 million campaign commissioned by the UK Home Office. The aim is to warn people about the consequences of losing control on a night out as a result of drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short space of time.

The TV footage shows young people injuring themselves, being violent and smearing vomit in their hair, accompanied by the tag line: ‘You wouldn't start a night like this, so why end it that way?’ Promoting awareness of the dangers of binge-drinking is a key element of the Island’s Drug and Alcohol Strategy which falls under the umbrella of the Department of Home Affairs.

Working in partnership with other Government agencies and voluntary organisations, officers are continuing to drive home the education, prevention and protection message. The challenges faced in the Island – and the support available to those affected - were brought to the public’s attention during a recent open day held at the Hilton Hotel in Douglas. And a series of regional roadshows scheduled to take place later in the year will highlight binge-drinking as one of the many issues being tackled by the Drug and Alcohol Strategy.

Minister for Home Affairs Martyn Quayle MHK said:

‘A great deal of hard work is being undertaken to educate local people about the consequences of alcohol and drug abuse. Hopefully by increasing awareness we will challenge drinkers, particularly those in the 18 to 24 age bracket, to think twice about their actions. Binge-drinking is not only damaging to a person’s health, but it can also make an individual more vulnerable to harm.'

The drinking habits of the Island’s young people are monitored as part of the European School Survey Project for Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD). The latest report, publicised in February this year, revealed a number of positive trends, but also identified binge-drinking as an ongoing challenge.

Margaret O’Reilly, director of drug and alcohol policy and research, said:

‘Communication and education are vital aspects of our efforts to raise awareness of drug and alcohol issues in the Isle of Man. A lot of advice and support is available and we always encourage public feedback as this information helps to shape our future policies and initiatives.’

Commenting on the controversial new TV advertising campaign, she added:

‘Any new project that grabs the public’s attention and stimulates action by parents, organisations and young people themselves is always very welcome.’

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