WHO report shows steep decline in teenage drinking in Ireland

WHO report shows steep decline in teenage drinking in Ireland

Ireland has seen one of the biggest falls in teenage drinking compared to the rest of Europe.

The latest figures from the World Health Organisation show that - between 2002 and 2014 - girls who drank weekly decreased from 34% to 8%, while boys decreased from 42% to 11%.

The WHO report shows that we now have among the lowest rates of teenage drinking in the region.

Teenagers are also waiting longer before trying alcohol but one in 10 are weekly drinkers by the time they are 15.

The WHO report, which examines alcohol-related behaviour among 15-year-olds in Europe, was led by researchers at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Dr Jo Inchley, lead editor of the report, said: “Overall reductions in harmful drinking have been greatest in countries that traditionally have had higher prevalence, such as Great Britain and the Nordic region.

“This makes it clear that change is possible; however, more should be done to ensure that adolescents are effectively protected from the harms caused by alcohol.”

The largest decreases in beer consumption were observed among 15-year-old boys in Wales, Denmark and England.

Across the region, 9% of girls and 16% of boys were regular weekly drinkers by the age of 15 in 2014, the report found.

Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, regional director for WHO Europe, said: “Young people are regular drinkers at an age where they should not be drinking at all.

“As we know that any alcohol consumption at this critical developmental stage in life is especially harmful, policy-makers have a responsibility to implement the measures we know are effective, such as limiting access, enforcing age checks and restricting any type of alcohol marketing, including digital marketing.”


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