Party PositiveThis Festive Season

The majority of young people in Merton know how to stay safe and have fun according to a survey completed by the Merton Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT).

The survey uncovered various safety party practices including staying with friends, getting their parents to collect them, taking a mobile phone, carrying condoms and not drinking alcohol or if so, not mixing drinks.

Participants are also aware of the consequences of drinking alcohol or taking drugs according to the survey, which also found:

·88 per cent were aware that drinking alcohol or taking drugs can affect their judgement and lower inhibitions, increasing the risk of having unplanned and unprotected sex
·Most young people never mix illegal drugs with alcohol· 60 per cent of young people in Merton have knowledge of GHB, the date rape drug
·56 per cent have never left their drink unattended or accepted a drink from someone they don’t know

However, a particular threat commonly found on licensed premises at this time of year is GHB, otherwise known as the ‘Date Rape Drug’. A few drops of the colourless and odorless drug slipped into a drink can cause unconsciousness within 20 minutes and victims will often have no memory of what happened.

Merton DAAT is encouraging people to have fun and stay safe when celebrating over the party season and has been preparing by distributing information about FRANK, the free and confidential helpline available 24 hours a day for young people, parents and carers concerned about drugs.

Information has also been distributed to community centres, clubs, bars, libraries and schools in and around the borough to help keep people safe while partying.

Councillor Andy Coles Merton Council’s Cabinet Member for Care Services said:

“Christmas and New Year is a time for celebrations. Drinking more than you normally would, or mixing alcohol and drugs which is never a good idea, can cause harm. This season can also put a lot of pressure on relationships and sometimes escaping from family problems can lead people to overdo it.”

If you need advice, information or support regarding drugs and alcohol you can talk to FRANK on 0800 77 66 00. FRANK is a free national 24hour helpline available seven days a week.

ENDS

Notes to Editors: A table is available upon request detailing the methods used by young people to party positively as well as further advice about how to party safe.