PSNI are appealing to everyone in the community to ‘take action’ as they report that 10-year-olds are drinking in Coleraine.

This was a sad reality revealed by PSNI during interviews by a group of young people making a film about underage drinking in Coleraine.

The film was officially launched in the Rutledge offices at New Row in the town and was viewed by local PSNI, councilors, representatives from statutory and voluntary agencies as well as the young film-makers.

‘The Blame Game’ includes interviews with PSNI, young people and the public about this issue.

One girl interviewed, Chelsea Cameron (16) said that if she was a parent and discovered her own child drinking at this age she would feel ‘sickened’. Joy (84) considered it a ‘disgrace’ that 10-year olds are drinking while Maurice a shocked Coleraine resident stressed: “It’s from the parents that young people should learn the difference between right and wrong.”

While a few the young people making the film felt that the children were to blame for the problem because they made the ‘choice’ to drink the PSNI had a different attitude.

PSNI Neighbourhood Inspector Coleraine, Donna Bowden stressed. “I think everybody needs to take action so that goes for local PSNI, statutory agencies you as young adults, it goes for parents, it goes for people out on the street. We can all do something to encourage the young ones not to go down the line of drinking. Drinking so young is like putting poison into their wee bodies.”

Lewis McAuley (19) warned: “If you drink you could end up doing something stupid and get a record for it and that’s your future done for.”

Logan Nicholl’s concern was for the negative impact drinking could have on a child’s health and future.

SDLP Councillor Stephanie Quigley, UUP Councillor William McCandless and PUP Councillor Russell Watton congratulated the young people on their film project but also encouraged them to continue to raise awareness of the issue and use the power they have as young role models to set an example to and inspire younger children to lead a safe and healthy lifestyle.

This film was produced by young people as part of a Headliners Big Lottery 'Voices For Change' programme.