Parents who fail to keep tabs on the alcohol in their home could be fuelling their children’s drinking habits, it was claimed today.
A new survey found while nine out of ten adults have alcohol in the house, less than half monitor how much is there.
The study, by the Aislinn Centre, also revealed 82% of those quizzed said young teenagers can be prompted to try alcohol or regularly drink from watching their parents habits.
Declan Jones, director of the rehabilitation centre, said parents often give mixed messages to young people by allowing them to have a glass of wine with a meal and then polishing off the bottle themselves.
“This can teach young people that over-consumption is acceptable,” he added.
The research was carried out in February 2009 by Lansdowne, with 1,000 people aged over 15 years questioned.
Some 76% agreed 13 to 18-year-old’s who drink alcohol regularly are more likely to also experiment with illegal drugs.
“Parents need to be aware that by storing alcohol in their home they are offering their children a route to this gateway drug,” continued Mr Jones.
“We need to be conscious of the messages we are sending out to our children in relation to alcohol
“It is not enough to say that young people who drink alcohol regularly can then experiment with drugs and then keep bottles of wine or spirits or beer in the house for teenagers to lay their hands on.
“We rarely find cases of young people who find themselves in trouble with drugs that have not experimented with alcohol first.”
The survey found 90% of people think there is a problem in Ireland with alcohol abuse among 13-18 year-olds.
“It is extremely positive that this problem of alcohol abuse among young people is so widely recognised,” continued Mr Jones.
“However unfortunately many people do not know what to do about it.
“Despite the high level of people agreeing that there is an alcohol problem among young people only half of those surveyed, who have alcohol in their home actually check whether this alcohol might be being abused.”
Elsewhere wine was the favourite alcoholic drink in people’s homes (80%), followed by spirits (70%), and then beer, lager or cider (65%).
The Aislinn Centre is the only drug-free residential centre in the State providing residential treatment for young people who are dependent on alcohol and/or drugs aged between 15 and 21.