The South Metropolitan Public Health Unit said parents should think twice about allowing their children to drink during school leavers and Christmas celebrations, with research showing alcohol was harmful to their developing brains.
Senior health promotion co-ordinator Megan Milligan said parents were being targeted by a new campaign aimed at changing how families view alcohol.
‘No alcohol is the safest choice for under 18s, according to national health guidelines, and that’s the campaigns main message,’ she said.
The unit’s call comes after WA Police and the State Government announced plans to monitor and control large leaver gathers, such as those at Rottnest Island.
‘The most important message I can give to leavers is to look after themselves and their friends and to treat themselves and each other with respect,’ Regional Commander Murray Smalpage said.
‘We want to ensure that leavers have a fantastic time and one that they will remember for the rest of their lives. But we also have a duty of care and if we find a situation where we need to step in and take action we will do it swiftly.’
Acting police minister John Day said the strategy involved 12 months of planning in collaboration with a number of agencies, support services and volunteer organisations across Perth to create a safer environment for leavers.
‘I would encourage parents to be involved in the planning of their children’s celebrations, talk to them and remind them of the risks of drinking alcohol and encourage them to stay safe and keep an eye on their friends,’ he said.