A GLASS of wine with their parents can be as big a problem for children as drinking Buckfast in a park, addiction experts have warned.

Representatives from Midlothian and East Lothian Drugs And Alcohol Partnership (MELDAP), told members of East Lothian Integration Joint Board that drinking problems were not confined to any single group of people.

Asked by the board’s chairperson Fiona O’Donnell if people’s social economic standing played a role in issues with drink and drugs, they said it did not.

Nicola Cochrane, service manager for mental health and substance abuse in East Lothian, told the board: “If you take North Berwick, while it could be perceived we do not have a substance misuse or alcohol problem there, look at the out-of-hours calls and falls and join the dots up. There is an issue.

“We have school children sitting down with mum and dad having a glass of wine.

“Where does it end? A couple of glasses at 13 leads to a bottle.

“Just because they are not in a park sitting drinking Buckfast, but are in a house drinking Pimm’s, it does not mean there is not a problem.”

MELDAP group manager Martin Bonnar urged the board, which oversees health and social care services in East Lothian, to help end the stigma which surrounds people with drug and alcohol use problems.

Mr Bonnar, group manager, said their message was that they were “all our people”.

He said: “We want the board to think about drugs and alcohol like they do GIRFEC (Get It Right For Every Child).

“It is everybody’s business and we need to find opportunities to challenge the stigma and pejorative language used. These are our people.

“We need to remember these are our mums and dads, sons, daughters and friends.”

A presentation on the work of MELDAP was given to the board as it held its meeting for the first time in the new East Lothian Community Hospital.

Ms Cochrane asked for more support to help it roll out its ongoing naloxone project, which sees the drug, which can be used as an antidote to an opiates overdose, provided to people at risk and their families.

She told the board MELDAP wants the life-saving drug to be available in public facilities including GP surgeries and libraries but was meeting resistance as needles were involved.

She said: “There are concerns about prescribing it because there is a needle in the box and there are some people nationally who have a robust policy about prescribing it. We really want to see East Lothian flooded with it in as many places as possible.”

Ms O’Donnell expressed disbelief at the concerns, pointing out: “When you think about diabetics, we are not telling them they cannot have the equipment (for insulin injections).”

The board agreed to hold further talks with MELDAP about supporting its work.