Safety: Alcohol and Drugs

Contributed by: Charlie Baker

Alcohol can be a destructive influence in a community setting. Whilst it may be appropriate at a family event or event for those 18 years and older, it is not recommended for an event that young people are attending. Special care will need to be taken on occasions when alchohol is available at a venue (such as a sports stadium or restaurant).

Neither youth leaders nor young people may bring alcohol or drugs to an event or programme, or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consider disciplinary consequences if such an event occurs, for instance informing caregivers, sending the young person home, suspension, police involvement.

Make sure that the rules and consequences for bringing and/or consuming alcohol while at youth events are clearly known and then enforced as the need arises. Be careful to maintain a firm, yet non-judgmental and non-belittling attitude.

At all times youth leaders should avoid behaviour which might impair their effectiveness. As a general rule, there should be no drinking at all before or during any youth event.

It is strongly recommended that your parish/ministry unit creates its own policy regarding alcohol which incorporates the guidelines above. This policy needs to be reviewed regularly, approved by vestry and discussed at least annually with leadership teams.

Adapted from ‘Keeping them Safe’ and ‘The ABC Guide to Safety’