Young people and alcohol

Taken from

Out of It Workshop
Some of the main reasons for young people start to drink are:
  • Curiosity and experimentation
  • To appear mature
  • To conform with expectations of what young people do.
  • By 14 or 15 young people say they drink to:
  • Have fun and experience the buzz
  • Get drunk and experience losing control
  • Socialise with others - alcohol can break down boundaries
  • Enhance sex appeal
  • Young people are more tolerant of drunkenness than adults
  • They consciously plan to binge-drink and think their friends approve of this
Out of It Workshop
How much children and young people drink
  • Most young people drink.
  • Over 80% of 11- to 16-year-olds have tried alcohol. For a quarter of those surveyed this means having `a few sips'. Young people are drinking more.
  • Among young people who drink, the amount consumed has doubled since 1990 to ten units a week. The mean consumption among 15-year-old boys who drink is nearly 12 units a week and nine units for girls.
  • Young people are drinking more regularly.
  • The proportion of 11- to 15-year-olds who drink alcohol at least once a week has risen from 20% in 1988 to 24% in 2000.
  • Greater numbers are binge drinking and regularly getting drunk.
  • Fifteen and 16-year-olds in the UK are more likely to get drunk or binge-drink than most of their European counterparts, with almost a third binge-drinking three or more times a month.
  • Drinking starts when children are in primary school.
  • Just under five percent of eight-year-olds have consumed a whole alcoholic drink. Fourteen percent of girls 21% of boys aged ten and 11 drink each week. By the age of 13, drinkers outnumber those who don't drink. Over half of 14- and 15-year-olds drink each week.
  • Regular use of alcohol is starting younger.
  • The age children start to drink unsupervised, as part of their own social lives, is more significant than their first taste of alcohol. Drinking tends to start at home in the presence of parents.