South Ayrshire teens warned of the dangers of excessive drinking

A South Ayrshire man who nearly died after binge drinking at an 18th birthday party is warning teenagers not to make the same mistake. Scott McLellan spent two months in hospital after being electrocuted and badly injured in 2010.

Scott's story was shared at the launch of a new DVD for the One Life, Your Choice campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking excessively among young people. The initiative was a partnership project led by South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership, involving Police Scotland, South Ayrshire Council, Network Rail, British Transport Police, and NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

In 2010 Scott McLellan was a 17 year old pupil at Marr College in Troon when he suffered extensive injuries after an accident on his way home from a night out with friends.

Unaware of where he was he fell onto a railway line in Ayr and was electrocuted. His injuries were so serious that he was unconscious for two days and spent a further two months recovering in hospital.

For the last five years Scott has been giving up his time to talk to students about his experiences, about alcohol, and the impact it had on his life, alongside Paul Scully (Community Safety Officer), and the feedback from young people has been extremely positive. Currently a student at Ayr College and working at a local hotel, Scott recently recorded his experience on a DVD to underline the One Life, Your Choice campaign.

Scott said that people needed to realise that binge-drinking can have serious consequences, "If we can even get one or two young people to learn from my mistake it will be a small victory.

"I was lucky not to die after my accident, something I can't even remember happening, but the aftermath and recovery will live with me forever.

"I've spent a lot of time speaking to young people and it's clear that most of them don't consider an accident is something that's likely to happen, but it can, and that's something that can be avoided, just by using your head."

Councillor Rita Miller, Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership, said, "Scott's story is a powerful reminder of the potential dangers of losing control after having too much to drink.

"It's clear that young people are ending up in hospital with potentially life-changing injuries, simply because they don't consider the potential consequences.

"We hope that our hard-hitting message will provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to make positive lifestyles choices that will help them to become responsible citizens."

Between 2005 and 2015 admissions to A&E wards of 20-24 year olds increased by 24% in South Ayrshire*.

Liz Moore, Director for Acute Services - NHS Ayrshire & Arran said the consequences of binge-drinking can easily be avoided: "We've seen a steady increase in accident and emergency attendances in the last few years and alcohol undoubtedly plays a major role in some of those attendances.

"The one thing all the people we see have in common is that none of them left the house expecting to get injured.

"We were glad to have been able to help Scott when he needed it most but it would have been better if he'd been able to make it home safe and sound. We hope his message helps others to think before they drink."

The One Life, Your Choice DVD was produced by the students of the University of the West of Scotland and Prancing Jack Productions. The DVD and a specially designed lesson plan will be distributed to secondary schools throughout the south west as well as to the emergency services for use as an educational resource.

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