London: A charity launched a campaign Monday to teach schoolchildren how to look after drunk friends, after a survey found significant numbers have had to cope with injured or unconscious peers.
The British Red Cross said the campaign would target children aged 11 to 16 to help them better cope in any emergency, but particularly in incidents involving alcohol, by teaching them life-saving first aid skills.
A survey by the charity showed the nation`s binge drinking culture was spreading to children, with 14 percent of respondents aged 11 to 16 having been in an emergency situation because of a friend over-consuming alcohol.
In the past year, more than one in 10 had been left to cope with a drunk friend who was sick, injured or unconscious.
Half of these had to deal with a friend who had passed out, and a quarter with a friend who had been hurt while in a drunken fight.
"In recent years, the issue of young people drinking to excess has been a regular feature in the media, but their vital role in saving lives when they and their friends find themselves in vulnerable situations generally has not been mentioned," said Joe Mulligan, an expert in first aid at the British Red Cross.
"We need to ensure that every young person -- irrespective of whether they`re drinking -- has the ability and confidence to cope in a crisis."
Polling company ICM questioned 2,500 children aged 11-16 by telephone between August 20 and 31.