'Let Children Drink Alcohol in the Pub'

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM GRANT

CHILDREN should be allowed to drink alcohol in pubs, a leading academic said yesterday.

Dr Paul Skett, of Glasgow University, claimed this would help to educate them about the risks of binge-drinking.

He said that by introducing a 'Continental approach' children would be less likely to become problem drinkers in later life.

But critics attacked Dr Skett, a pharmacist, for encouraging underage drinking after recent figures showed record numbers of Scots are drinking themselves to death.

Children as young as seven are being hospitalised by excessive drinking, while each year nearly 150 youngsters under the age of 17 receive medical treatment for early signs of alcoholism.

Tom Wood, chairman of the Edinburgh Action Team on Alcohol and Drugs, said: 'Giving alcohol to a five-year-old is not a serious consideration.

'Children need to be given information so they can make quality decisions when it comes to alcohol.' Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, said: 'If parents are introducing alcohol to their children, they must be aware children's bodies have not fully developed so offering more than a taste is not advisable. …