Euan McGrory: How should we protect young people from risks of drink and drugs

Chief Superintendent Richard Thomas has warned of the dangers of a booze culture. Pic: Jon Savage
Chief Superintendent Richard Thomas has warned of the dangers of a booze culture. Pic: Jon Savage
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The dangers which young people face as they venture out into the world are never far from the minds of most parents.

Today they will be nearer the surface than normal. The drug-linked deaths of a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman at the Mutiny music festival in the south of England has sparked much debate across the UK.

And the warning from the Capital’s police commander about the risks associated with the drinking culture in and around the city’s pubs and clubs will add to those concerns.

The potential pitfalls invovled should not be overstated. These worst case scenarios - drug deaths and sexual assaults - thankfully remain relatively rare occurrences.

Chief Superintendent Richard Thomas is, however, quite right to raise these concerns. It is only by raising these issues - and talking openly about them - that we can help to protect our young people.

The children’s charity, the NSPCC, offers four guiding principles to parents who are worried about how to tackle the subject at home. Their advice is to start talking early, find out what they know, discuss the risks and set boundaries.

The discussion around the news headlines might be a starting point for some.