During our last webinar we had a very informative presentation on the topic of “Youth and Alcohol” with presenters Morris Green from the Nova Scotia Department of Health, and Jennifer Heatley, Executive Director of the Atlantic Collaborative on Injury Prevention (ACIP).

We know that higher consumption of alcohol correlates to a higher level of youth injury, violence and suicides. In Nova Scotia, the average age for a first drink is 13.4 years, 49% of youth used alcohol in the past month, and 26.6% drank 5+ drinks in one sitting in the past month. In looking at what drives consumption of alcohol among youth is becomes clear that issues of price, access and marketing make it extremely difficult for adults to encourage a healthy attitude towards drinking. As one parent put it, “government needs to level the playing field through stricter advertising policy because as it stands right now, I’m out-done.”

In order to combat this problem, Green and Heatley are promoting youth engagement strategies with a youth-centric focus on solutions. Looking at changing the paradigm from top-down lecturing to conversation-based learning between youth and adults, they aim to talk about alcohol policy with kids in a non-invasive way, enabling them to be part of the solution.

For more information you can contact either of the presenters via email below or check out the Joint Consortium for School Health Youth Engagement Toolkit.