Question of the month

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On September 17, some of the members of the YOB team met at Tesco in Galashiels to ask our Question of the Month, and tape the responses, writes Louise Chapman.

The latest question was, “Do you think underage drinking is a problem in the Scottish Borders?”

We asked members of the public – young people, teenagers, parents and elderly people. The responses were really interesting and, surprisingly, it was the young people we asked that suggested there was a problem and that the older generations often said it was no different to when they were young.

However one mum of two younger children did say it was a concern for when her children grew older. Some of the comments were:

“It can be bad, it depends on the area”.

“It can be a problem sometimes, but there’s not much else to do so there’s not much you can do to stop it, so I’ve just got used to it”.

“I think that it happens quite a lot and there could be a problem”.

“I wouldn’t think it’s a major problem, there will be isolated cases but it’s in the minority”.

“Yes, it’s seen as being acceptable for younger people to drink now”.

“No more than it has been over the years”.

“I think it is in some places, it is something I think about for when my own children are bigger”.

“I used to do it when I was young, maybe there’s not enough to do for young people”.

“It not the drinking it’s the behaviour and the mess they leave behind”.

“I don’t think it is so bad because the parents buy the drink for their kids, so they know what’s going on”.

The Borders Production Unit held a discussion on this on September 15. The trainees who took part in this were Janine, Jackie, Rebecca, Steph, Ken and Alastair, with myself, Louise Chapman, taking notes. All the trainees came to agreement that underage drinking is a problem in the Borders and here are their different reasons as to why young people drink underage.

One participant said it is a problem where she stays because the majority of teenagers drink at a young age, they do it because of family problems, personal issues and simply because they are bored.

Two trainees agreed with this statement and added that there is nowhere else to go and nothing that thy feel they can do. A supporting statement to this is that cinemas and bowling alleys and most things the youths from 12-14 would be most interested in are in big towns or cities which are possibly some distance away from where they stay and travel isn’t always possible to these places for numerous reasons, such as no public transport which passes their homes, their parents are working or they just don’t have the money.

Finally, myself and another trainees think some young people choose to start drinking underage due to peer pressure – their friends do it, so they do it too thinking it makes them look cool and tough.

It was discussed around the table how much the trainees drink and where they get it from, some trainees said they don’t drink for personal reasons or because they just don’t see the fascination in drinking, others admitted that they can get drink but only choose to drink socially and on special occasions.

The YOB team thanks everyone who participated and we will be out on location again next month – keep listening to WIRED to find out where.