130 cops to crackdown on underage drinking at Skyfire
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130 cops to crackdown on underage drinking at Skyfire

Police and youth support workers are pleading with Canberra's youth to avoid binge drinking at Skyfire this weekend.

Skyfire, like many of the ACT's major events, has been marred by underage drinking and anti-social behaviour in the past. About 30 young people were taken into custody by police at last year's event.

With Skyfire now just days away, ACT Policing and drug and alcohol counselling service Directions ACT have warned Canberra's youth of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

Directions ACT executive director Kate Pensa said binge drinking could be extremely harmful to the long-term health of young people.

"If they're binge drinking, it could be that that person is not actually reaching their full potential because of the effects of alcohol on the brain and on the developing brain," she said.

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"And then of course there's all the risk factors involved in binge drinking and risk taking behaviour, which can be unsafe sex, it can be getting into fights."

South District Acting Superintendent Steve Hogarth will head up a 130-strong police team at this year's event.

He said the problem of underage drinking continue to plague Canberra's youth, and said he has seen children as young as 12 involved in binge drinking.

He said peer pressure was a strong influence on the underage drinking culture.

"It takes a big part in youth culture, I've got three teenagers myself and I know what effect peer-group pressure has on them," he said.

He urged parents to keep track of their children on Skyfire night.

Youth reception stations will be set up at the event and at Woden and City stations to hold underage drinkers until relatives can be contacted.

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