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Arran may not be a hotbed of underage drinking, and it may not be in plain sight, but there is no point in pretending it does not exist.
So the creation of a Community Alcohol Partnership seems a sensible approach to a difficult and sometimes complex problem. To bring both the authorities and the retailers, who find themselves on the front line, together to form a coherent and workable strategy to tackle the issue is a good starting point.
Of course there has to be an enforcement side to underage drinking but there also, importantly, has to be an educational side as well as the use of diversionary tactics.
Community Alcohol Partnership are working well in other parts of the country but each one has to address individual issues and Arran has its own peculiar set of problems.
While it may be harder for youngsters on the island to purchase alcohol in the Co-op and elsewhere as it is on the mainland. There seems to be no lack of it available to them, taking it from their homes – with or without their parents permission – or getting adults, often siblings, to buy it for them.
There will be many challenges ahead for this new partnership but we are sure if everyone is working together they can make a big difference.
We wish them every success.