PEOPLE in North Devon s three main towns of Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Bideford top Devon s drinking league tables for all the wrong reasons, according to new figures. NHS statistics from April 2005 to March 2009 show the three towns have the highest hosp

PEOPLE in North Devon's three main towns of Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Bideford top Devon's drinking league tables for all the wrong reasons, according to new figures.

NHS statistics from April 2005 to March 2009 show the three towns have the highest hospital admission rates per head population for alcohol related issues in the whole of the county.

The data also reveal that about 160 people across Devon attend accident and emergency departments with alcohol-related issues every day and around 111,000 Devonians aged between 16 and 64 drink at hazardous or harmful levels.

There is particular concern about young people said Roger Bartlett, team leader of the North Devon 'How To Drug Proof Your Kids' scheme, a drug and alcohol education programme for parents and carers that's been running across North Devon for the past four years.

"While illegal drugs worry parents, from the courses we have run, the misuse of alcohol among young people is, without doubt, the most prevalent issue for parents." he said. "It is so widely available and we know that anti-social behaviour, violence and other crime as well as long term health issues can result from harmful drinking and no parent wants their child to get caught up in that."

The group's six-week courses cost £15 per person and are run throughout the autumn and spring terms.

The next evening course will be run at the Vivian Moon Centre in Braunton from Tuesday, September 14, and a course is planned in Barnstaple at the Tarka Tennis Centre from Wednesday, November 10.

To book or find out more information call (01271) 336271 or visit www.dpyknorthdevon.co.uk