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Downward trend in Irish underage drinking welcomed

54 per cent of 9 to18 year-olds now report that they’ve never had an alcoholic drink, according to a new survey, Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey (HBSC) 2010, launched by Minister for Health Dr James Reilly recently.

This represents an increase of 23 per cent since 1998 and 14 per cent since 2002.

The survey also revealed that 21 per cent of children report having had an alcoholic drink in the past month, a decrease of some 13 per cent since 1998 and five per cent since 2006.

The surveys of children aged 9 to 18 have been undertaken at four year intervals starting in 1998 and the latest found that when asked if they‘d ever had so much alcohol that they were ‘really drunk’, 28 per cent responded positively to this question, a decrease of some four per cent since 2006.

Those who reported being drunk in the last 30 days fell slightly too to 18 per cent from 20 per cent in 2006.

The alcohol social responsibility organisation has welcomed the continuing downward trend in underage drinking in Ireland.

Speaking about the results Chief Executive Fionnuala Sheehan, said,“It is very important that Irish teenagers are made fully aware of this downward trend as they are at a life stage when they are particularly influenced by perceived norms within their peer group.

“With some media reports conveying an impression that under-age drinking is rampant in Ireland this survey reflects a more reassuring picture. The fact that over half of this age group reported never having had an alcoholic drink is particularly welcome,” she added.




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