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Teenage binge drinking

 
 
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 02:39 am
The latest findings on teenage drinking, smoking and drug use across Europe are released.
The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) is a study of 15 and 16 year old teenagers in 35 European countries. It is by far the most detailed international study on this subject.

Press release


The Guardian's Editorial: Binge drinking teenagers
Quote:

The American comic WC Fields measured the cost of living by saying drink had gone up another dollar a quart. By any measure, the price of alcohol still has a way to go before it affects the behaviour of teenage binge drinkers. Yesterday a survey of 32 countries confirmed what we already suspected - that adolescents in the UK are among Europe's worst in terms of levels of binge drinking, drunkenness and alcohol-related problems. More girls than boys are binge drinking. By their own admissions, drunkenness has contributed to high rates of accidents and unprotected sex. And not only are teenagers getting drunk more often, they are drinking larger amounts when they do.

The story is miserable and familiar. That does not make it any easier to solve. Yesterday's report, from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, brought fresh calls for an increase in the price of alcohol. The government has already backed away once on this issue this month, by rejecting the advice of Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer for England, and succumbing to the argument from the drinks industry, which accused him of penalising the sensible majority of drinkers. And it is unlikely to be any braver now, as it braces the nation for a new age of austerity. The figures on the rise of alcohol-related disease are chilling, but the answer is not just to prevent cans of lager being sold at 50p.

There is a distinct whiff of Victorian moralism in a tax hike which would affect the poorest and most vulnerable most, while leaving the middle classes free to indulge in their favourite tipple and call their own intake moderate - whatever that means. And if increasing the price in bars and supermarkets was the only thing that was done, teenagers would simply get their hands on the rough stuff. A two-litre bottle of white cider contains about the same amount of alcohol as a half bottle of whisky. The real concern is how to stop increasing numbers of young people from self-destructing. The answer must lie beyond the immediate price of drink.

Much of the problem is cultural. So are some of the answers. Young people need better education, the real chance of a job, and better places to hang out. They need parental control and, where that fails, groups to which they can turn. Centres that stay open on Friday and Saturday nights provide alternatives to antisocial behaviour - but none of this comes cheap. Another report published yesterday will get less attention. Ofsted noted a significant improvement in youth work services in the last three years. Stopping teenagers from ending up in A&E departments each weekend will take more than simply slapping a higher price on booze.


Link to complete study


Percentage of teenagers who said they had had five or more drinks at one time over the previous 30 days.

Isle of Man 61 per cent
Denmark 60 per cent
Malta 57 per cent
Portugal 56 per cent
United Kingdom 54 per cent
Estonia 54 per cent
Latvia 54 per cent
Czech republic 52 per cent
Slovenia 51 per cent
Croatia 50 per cent

Average 43 per cent

Lowest Iceland 22 per cent
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Type: Discussion • Score: 5 • Views: 3,734 • Replies: 16
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 04:48 am
When I was a teen, beer was readily available, both from older teens and at the bars. If a kid could walk in and ask for a drink, he was deemed old enough to have one. I think I might not have become an alcoholic were it not for these fun teen years.
patiodog
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 05:25 am
So in countries where adults drink a lot, teens drink a lot too?

What an amazing piece of information this group has produced.


Wait, where's Germany? I am disappointed in the kinder.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 06:20 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

When I was a teen, beer was readily available, both from older teens and at the bars. If a kid could walk in and ask for a drink, he was deemed old enough to have one. I think I might not have become an alcoholic were it not for these fun teen years.


Was there an official drinking age that was just generally ignored?
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 06:29 am
@patiodog,
patiodog wrote:

Wait, where's Germany? I am disappointed in the kinder.


Data are all to be found via the link above - but ...
http://i40.tinypic.com/2utt4bq.jpg
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 06:34 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

edgarblythe wrote:

Was there an official drinking age that was just generally ignored?

The target population of the ESPAD project is students that turn 16 years old during the calendar year of the data collection. - in many European countries it's [still] legal to buy/drink beer and smoke cigarettes from 16 onwards. [We here in Germany only changed the age limit recently, for cigarettes, beer and low-alcoholic drinks are still legal from 16 years onwards..]
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 06:39 am
hmmm...doing a quick Google, I see that in the U.S. 21 became the nationwide legal age for drinking in 1984.

But I know there were laws for the minimum age before that.

I was born in 1958, and I can remember by the time I was a teen the age to get into a bar was 18.

I started drinking when I was 16. I know my age had anything to do with becoming an alcoholic. If I hadn't started drinking until 18, 21 or 25, I still would have been an alcoholic.

I think 21 is a ridiculous age to allow legal drinking. You can marry, be in the military, buy a house, enter into contracts, decide to have an abortion, but you can't buy a beer at a bar.

Looking at a chart of legal drinking ages around the world, it's generally 18.
a few of places it's 16, and in a couple of places, there is no restriction.

I wonder when these laws were first enacted. It just doesn't sound right that in 1796 for instance, there was a legal drinking age in the U.S.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 27 Mar, 2009 06:50 am
@chai2,
Officially, the age was 21. Unofficially, no one was barred, in my experience.
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 04:21 pm
I revived this thread because of something I saw today.

There’s a high school boy that lives two houses down from us, he’s 16 or 17. He walks by our house on his way home from school everyday.

Well today I stopped at this little market down the street and he was standing out front, a man probably in his forties walked out of the market and handed him two cans of beer and the kid hid them under his shirt and they both just walked in different directions. I thought how stupid of this man to be giving alcohol to a minor.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 04:23 pm
@jcboy,
watching stuff like that happen all the time is part of why I moved out to the country...

what do you do now?
jcboy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 04:30 pm
@Rockhead,
I really felt like I should say something to the man who gave him the beer but I had Antonio with me so I kept my mouth shut.

Now I know why I see this kid walk home then leave later in that same direction as the store around the same time, I wonder now how often it happens?
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 04:31 pm
@jcboy,
and what's causing it.

besides bad parenting...
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 09:23 pm
@Rockhead,
Why do you assume bad parenting has anything to do with it? The kid is 16 or 17, plenty old enough to be hiding this sort of behavior from his parents. (And hiding it well.) After all, if he could get alcohol at home, he wouldn't have been there.

Sorry, but I'm a little sensitive about parents automatically getting blamed for the bad decisions of 16-18 year olds.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 09:37 pm
@Eva,
a whole lot of little reasons based on jcboy's story.

mostly I think parents should be involved enough with their children to see the signs of habitual drinking.

the kid is obviously not being very careful about it.

and what makes 16 year old kids decide to drink away their problems?

in my case it was an example I grew up with.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 09:40 pm
maybe I should have said ineffective instead of bad...
0 Replies
 
Eva
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 11:16 pm
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:

a whole lot of little reasons based on jcboy's story.

mostly I think parents should be involved enough with their children to see the signs of habitual drinking.

the kid is obviously not being very careful about it.

and what makes 16 year old kids decide to drink away their problems?

in my case it was an example I grew up with.


Ah, we're both probably bringing too much personal experience to this story.

I think a lot of teenagers start drinking because they think it will be fun, and because their parents wouldn't like it (typical rebellion.) And they don't think it will ever be a problem for them. Teenagers are like that. They see their friends doing something, and nothing bad happens immediately, so they assume it's harmless. <shakes head>

The worst case of teenage alcoholism I knew when I was in highschool was the class valedictorian who came from a great family...friends of ours. They didn't find out about his drinking until it was almost too late. (Neither did most of us, his friends.)
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Oct, 2012 11:31 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
this report shows that there has been little change in drinking habits since 1995...if there is a problem here needing a solution then it is an old problem that never got much interest.
0 Replies
 
 

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