- Less than half of 15 year olds and a third of 13 year olds report drinking alcohol in the past week.
- The number of 13 year olds drinking in the past week has doubled since 1990.
The problem of young people drinking is less of people buying alcohol underage - many shops do require ID to be shown, and I've certainly been ID'd a few times even after I passed my 21st birthday. The problem is more one of young people having access to alcohol and adults tolerating this. If someone of twelve or fourteen is drinking, someone older (a sibling, a parent, or a friend) has most likely given it to them or knows that they've been drinking. It's easy to blame the media or blame society, but in reality, it's down to responsible parenting. As long as getting drunk is endorsed or allowed by a 'responsible' adult then it will be much harder to tackle the problem of underage drinking.
The impact of alcohol on a young person is far greater than on an adult. The health consequences aren't emphasised enough in my view - the HEBS ad with the school girl drinking at a party is more about the embarrasment of the the day after the night before. That's perhaps a factor in persuading people to drink less, but if young people think it's cool to drink til they pass out that battle is already lost.
Schemes like Young Booze Busters by GEAAP are good at highlighting to young people the health impacts of drinking as well as the social aspects. GEAAP already have access to some schools in Glasgow to raise awareness, but much more needs to be done.