Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Meet our Engagement Team: Megan

Over the past year in post as the Youth Engagement Co-ordinator at Alcohol Focus Scotland I have been engaging with children and young people to explore their views on alcohol and the impact it has in their lives.  Through focus groups, surveys, and workshops they have told us that they see alcohol everywhere, and the constant stream of messages and marketing they are exposed to wears down their perception of it as a harmful product.  They have shared with us that this makes them feel that alcohol is socially acceptable and the cultural norm.

It is important that we engage children and young people in conversations about alcohol as they are being primed as the future drinkers of tomorrow. Their insights into how alcohol impacts their lives now and what could be done to reduce the harm they experience is valuable in supporting the health of the next generation of adults in Scotland.

The forthcoming Scottish Government consultation on alcohol marketing is a further opportunity for us to listen to what the children and young people of the country have to say. We are supporting a wide range of groups to learn more about how high levels of exposure can impact on their rights, as well as supporting them to share their thoughts and feelings about this to decision makers at local and national levels.

As we are progressing with our engagement work with children and young people, we are learning more about where young people are seeing alcohol in their lives, the impact this is having and what information they want to know. From this we are working with young people to co-design information about alcohol which is accessible and available in spaces they seek to help them make informed decisions.

With more children and young people spending time online they have shared with us their experiences of exposure to alcohol marketing through social media and influencers, and how buying alcohol has become easier using websites and apps. We recently launched a survey for young people to share their experience of buying, or trying to buy, alcohol online to find out the scale of the issue and what can be done to reduce they harm they may experience due to this.

If you are interested in finding out more about or getting involved with our engagement work, please contact Megan McGarrigle.

To find out about our work with people in recovery, please take a look at this blog post.