Underage alcohol consumption has declined in Ireland according to new research from the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking.
Its report found that the proportion of underage people consuming alcohol in Ireland has declined by 30% based on ESPAD school population of 15-16-year-olds, 2011-2015. In 2011 some 50% of 15- to16-year-olds had consumed alcohol in the previous month. By 2015 this had fallen to 35%.
As part of the research the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, a drinks industry-funded not-for-profit organisation dedicated to reducing harmful drinking and promoting understanding of responsible drinking, analysed data from 63 countries. It found that underage drinking has fallen in over two-thirds of these countries.
“This research confirms that Ireland is moving in the right direction when it comes to underage drinking,” said the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland’s Director Patricia Callan in welcoming the findings, “We believe that underage drinking should absolutely never occur and work hard to ensure that our products are aimed at an adult audience only, for responsible consumption.
“Going forward it’s important that relevant stakeholders, Government and society as a whole, works together to further reduce underage drinking.”
However the study has been queried by public health campaigner Dr Bobby Smyth, a consultant adolescent psychiatrist, who criticised the report.
“This is old data and numbers, focusing in on one area of adolescent alcohol use,” he said according to a report in the Evening Herald recently where he called for an independent group to conduct research into the situation currently.
“What doctors see is the number of young people running into problems with drinking and the patterns of drinking among those who drink.
“These are figures from 2011 and 2015.
“The general population has moved upwards, so for lots of reasons this is rehashing old data from the alcohol industry, which funds the group who put together this research.”