One sixth of teens in fights after drinking

A sixth of 15 to 16 year-olds have been involved in a fight and a tenth have been in trouble with gardaí after the consumption of alcohol, according to an official report.

The study found 10% of 15 to 16 year-old students have had sex without a condom and 7% of girls had unwanted sexual advances as a result of their own and others’ drinking.

The Ireland report for the European Schools Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs 2015 survey also found that 10% of girls that age had deliberately harmed themselves after drinking.

The report asked 15 to 16 year-old students what consequences they had experienced from alcohol, either from their own drinking or others, in the last 12 months.

It found:

  • 16% were in a fight (13% of girls and 19% of boys);
  • 20% were injured (24% of girls, 17% of boys);
  • 26% had lost property (30% of girls, 23% of boys);
  • 20% were in a serious argument (21% of girls, 19% of boys);
  • 5% were victims of robbery (4% of girls, 6% of boys);
  • 10% were in trouble with police (7% of girls, 12% of boys);
  • 3% were hospitalised due to drinking (2% of girls, 4% of boys);
  • 10% had sex without a condom (8% of girls, 12% of boys);
  • 6% had been victims of unwanted sexual advances (7% of girls, 5% of boys);
  • 8% had engaged in deliberate self-harm (10% of girls, 6% of boys);

In addition, it found 4% had been involved in drunk driving — but just 1% of girls compared to 8% of boys. Some 8% had swum in deep water — 5% of girls, compared to 11% of boys.

On the gender differences, the report said: “Girls were more likely than boys to be in an accident or sustain an injury, damage or lose clothing or property and deliberately injure themselves.

“Boys were more likely than girls to fight, be in trouble with the police, engage in intercourse without a condom, and drive under the influence of alcohol.”

Some 40% of students said someone close to them drank excessively — with 44% of girls and 20% of boys saying this causes problems.

However, they said most problems were caused by strangers. Some 46% of girls and 21% of boys said they had been made afraid in a public place by a stranger.

The findings are against falling consumption, with 36% of 15 to 16 year-olds in 2015 reporting having consumed alcohol, compared to 50% in 2011 and 69% in 1995.

Conor Cullen of Alcohol Action Ireland welcomed the reduction but said: “Many of these 15 and 16-year-olds have reported a wide range of serious consequences as a result of their own drinking, such as getting involved in fights, drink-driving, deliberate self-harm, swimming in deep water, accidents and injuries.

“Alcohol-fuelled incidents such as these can have very serious and lasting consequences for these young people, and tragically, for some, they can be fatal.”


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