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Knowing your limits over Christmas

For some, festive fun over Christmas might involve a drink or two.

But the message from charities and the emergency services is simple - don't go too far.

There's plenty of advice available, if you've already got Christmas parties pencilled into your calendar:

  • Drinkaware is a national alcohol awareness charity that can help you to cut down on your drinking
  • Alcohol Concern also offers help and support
  • Cumbria Constabulary will be out on the beat on streets across Cumbria, to help keep people safe. They're operating the 'Think Before You Drink' campaign
  • Police Scotland will be doing the same in Dumfries and Galloway, and the Scottish Borders
  • Street Pastors is a group of volunteers who offer help to people who have had too much to drink on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • If you're driving, remember - the drink drive limit in Scotland is now lower than it is in England

Carlisle cracks down on underage drinking

Cumbria Police have revealed they targeted three bars in the city as part of a campaign to crack down on underage drinking.

A 16-year-old was sent into all three premises after police received intelligence they were selling alcohol to underage young people.

Of the three bars visited, one of them served the teenager without checking their age.

The bar which failed the test was issued with a £90 fixed penalty notice.

“I am disappointed that licensed premises continue to serve alcohol to underage drinkers, despite the fact that it puts the health of children and young people at risk.

"However, I was pleased to note that two out of the three bars tested did the right thing and challenged the young person and requested identification. We need all licensed premises to adhere to these standards.

“Our advice is to always ‘Ask, Challenge, Check’ – if in doubt, do not serve.”

– Sergeant Richard Higgin

Anyone with any information of premises who sell to underage children are asked to contact Cumbria Police on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Primary school children 'at risk of drug addiction'

The Press Association findings, released today, indicate that children as young as nine have been referred to treatment centres in the Scottish Borders.

They say their investigation revealed primary school children are being flagged as at risk of becoming addicts.

Treatment experts said the most common reason for children to come into contact with drugs and alcohol is through their parents.

Preventative work is key to heading off misuse among youngsters and nationally, charities have called for improved drugs education in schools.

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Reacting to the Press Association findings the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee said:

"I am deeply concerned that children so young are clearly gaining access to harmful substances.

"It is right that these youngsters receive the appropriate help but we must look at the source of their problems.

"It is vital that parents take responsibility and additional support is given to them in order to prevent children being exposed to drugs and alcohol in the first place."

– Keith Vaz, chairman, Commons Home Affairs Select Committee
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Hundreds of under-12's 'referred for drug treatment'

The Press Association have approached councils across the UK and found children as young as four being referred by education and children's services to alcohol and drug specialists.

In the Freedom of Information request, more than half of under-13s - 59% - received treatment for cannabis misuse, while a third were treated for alcohol misuse.

A small number abused solvents.

A bedroom at a treatment centre for drug addicts and alcoholics. Credit: PA/PA Archive

Eight-year-olds had been referred to services in Waltham Forest and East Ayrshire, while nine-year-olds had been referred in Herefordshire, Liverpool, Oxfordshire, Rutland, the Scottish Borders and West Berkshire.

Authorities in Bury, Calderdale, Halton, Hull, Monmouthshire and Rochdale had seen 10-year-olds referred.

Some 366 children aged 12 or under were referred for treatment in 2012/13 in England, according to the most recent figures from Public Health England, compared with 433 in 2011/12.

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Full Report: Police launch drink drive campaign

People in Cumbria are being urged to call the police if they see anyone they've seen drinking attempting to drive home over the festive period.

Police say they will treat any tip offs as a priority and say the focus of this year's annual drink driving campaign is the responsibility of ordinary people to help keep the roads safe this Christmas.

Ryan Dollard reports.

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