Alcohol & Young PeopleAlcohol can put young people at serious risk of harm, whether they are drinking themselves or being affected by the drinking of a parent or other adult in their lives. Read more about children affected by adults drinking.
The current scientific evidence is that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option. Young people's bodies are more vulnerable than adults' to the effects of alcohol. Drinking can cause short and long term harm to health, as well as put young people in risky situations when drunk.
Research shows that the earlier a young person begins to drink alcohol, the more likely they are to drink in ways that can be risky later in life.
Young people are under a lot of pressure to start drinking at a young age. Alcohol today is more affordable, more available and more heavily marketed than at any other time in the last 30 years. As a result, young people are growing up in a pro-alcohol society where drinking alcohol is seen as the norm.
Parents and adults should be aware that their own drinking behaviour will also influence their children's attitude to alcohol.
The Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) 2010 shows:
- 44% of 13 year olds and 77% of 15 year olds have ever had an alcoholic drink.
- 14% of 13 year olds and 34% of 15 year olds have had an alcoholic drink in the last week.
- 54% of 13 year olds who had ever had alcohol reported having been drunk at least once, compared with 76% of 15 year olds.
- 62% of 13 year olds who had ever had a drink reported never buying alcohol, compared with 38% of 15 year olds. The most common source is friends and relatives.