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Sorry, Sir Liam but I am not going to fall in with your latest recommendations on teenage drinking. You may be absolutely right in saying that no child under 15 should touch alcohol, but if my fourteen year old or indeed my ten year old asks for a drink, I shall let him or her have one. If the child feels sick afterwards, thats fine.
This is not because I doubt for a moment the scientific findings about the harm teenagers are doing to themselves by hitting the bottle from an early age. As Prof David Nutt, the recently sacked chief scientific adviser to the Government, told me recently, Our hospitals are full of young people waiting for liver transplants that they will probably never get.
Without visiting a hospital I can see the effects of under age drinking in the groups of absurdly young people swaying down the street past my house every weekend. My teenagers come home from every party with stories of friends throwing up, taken home semi-comatose or knocking back vodka-laced drinks with total disregard for either their future health or their current dignity.
December 19, 2009