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Teenagers star in warning video

PUBLISHED: 20:30 22 March 2002 | UPDATED: 11:36 03 March 2010

IPSWICH teenagers are the stars of a video with a hard-hitting message on the consequences of excessive drinking.

The video – the first of its kind – stars 16 Stoke High pupils – and is to be made available to schools nationwide.

IPSWICH teenagers are the stars of a video with a hard-hitting message on the consequences of excessive drinking.

The video – the first of its kind – stars 16 Stoke High pupils – and is to be made available to schools nationwide.

Filmed at the Community Centre and The Swan pub both in Holbrook it starts with youngsters getting ready for a disco and ends with a stabbing – hammering home the dangers of alcohol.

Recovering alcoholic and prescription drug addict, John Evans, from the company High and Dry, is the brains behind the video, together with actress Leigh Conroy.

"A lot of problems start early in life," he explained. "Some may become addicted very early on, or they may drink for a number of years then it gets totally out of hand.

"Statistics from Alcohol Concern reveal that one in 13 people are drinking hazardously.

"There is now this huge binge culture which is getting out of control and there is a lot of under age drinking. There is also a lot of crime related to this – with violent activities going on.

"In this country education along the lines of anti-drugs and alcohol is pretty poor in schools.

"Children are well aware of how much is safe to drink and the affects of drugs and where they come from.

"In this country there is drugs strategy, but there is no alcohol related strategy."

John, from Ipswich and Leigh, from Manningtree, have successfully held talks to pupils aged 14 to 16 years in schools across Suffolk.

And if anyone can give a clearer message it is John, 54, who was an alcoholic for 27 years and addicted to tranquillisers for 13 years.

He was at the peak of his career – a high flyer in sales and marketing – but lost everything: his job, family and home through drink. He became a down-and-out and suffered health problems. Seeking help from Alcoholics Anonymous, he was put on the road to recovery.

It was through the talks, given by John and Leigh, that the pair got involved in the Drugs Action Group where they met Caroline Sayer, who was involved with Ipswich Teenagers Fighting Crime.

The teenagers had written a play on how alcohol affected youngsters – and that sparked the idea of the video. Auditions were carried out at Stoke High School.

Each video will come with a teacher's pack to raise the issue of alcohol, why people drink in this way, why others don't, what can happen and drink-related crime.

"The aim is to embrace the problem of drinking in that age group," said John. The reason why our talks have been so successful is our honesty – what happened to us and why we became alcoholics.

"High and Dry gives a totally different approach opening the real issues about why people get drawn into alcohol abuse and the effect it has on people," said John.

The video, currently being edited, was filmed by David Jay of Alpha Films, Holbrook. It has been supported by Suffolk Constabulary and Ipswich Borough Council.

Among the children starring in the video are Darren Wilks, Ben Jordan, Jazz Scott, Rachel Hart and Elizabeth Taylor.


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