NEW students at Motherwell College were given invaluable information from the ‘Play Safe, Home Safe’ campaign at freshers’ week.
NHS Lanarkshire, Strathclyde Police and Motherwell College teamed up to promote alcohol and sexual health awareness at the college.
Members of NHS Lanarkshire’s North East Unit Health Improvement Team, which covers the Bellshill, Motherwell and Wishaw areas, set up a stall to promote the initiative which aims to reduce alcohol and sexual activity related harm.
Christine Reid, NHS Lanarkshire, health improvement senior, said: “We wanted to focus on sexual health and alcohol, as being under the influence of alcohol can affect an individual’s judgement and make them vulnerable to engaging in risk-taking behaviour such as having unprotected sex which can result in sexually transmitted infections (STI).
“There is also considerable evidence to show that levels of drinking in adulthood are defined by drinking patterns in adolescence and early adulthood.
“Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to major health issues in later life such as liver and brain damage, coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers and mental health problems.
“However, the campaign was also an opportunity for us to consult with the students about their personal safety concerns and ask them what organisations like the police, NHS and the college can do to support them to stay safe and well while still enjoying themselves.”
In Lanarkshire around 23 per cent of the population exceed their recommended daily alcohol limit, similarly STIs are showing signs of an increase.
In an attempt to address this, the agencies involved used the event to engage young people in discussions about alcohol and sexual health.
The students were also given free packs containing a personal alarm, bottle safety top and sexual health information packs.
Inspector Stewart Hurry said: “It’s vitally important that when young people are out and about, they keep themselves safe, especially when consuming alcohol.
“The police often have to pick up the pieces after a night out on matters which could be avoided by covering bottles to stop drinks being spiked.
“The bottle tops and alarms provided in these packs will give valuable protection to people going to and from nights out.
“We also plan for our community officers to deliver the packs locally to reduce the chances of young people becoming victims.”