Drinks Ireland

Fall in alcohol consumption among young people

Decline forms part of a longer-term trend

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Underage drinking on the decline in Ireland

Underage drinking on the decline in Ireland

Underage alcohol consumption has declined in Ireland according a study which shows that 64% of young people aged between 10-17 have never had an alcoholic drink, an increase of 6% since 2014.

Drinks Ireland, the representative body for drinks manufacturers and suppliers, has welcomed the research, which is part of an international study for the World Health Organisation.

The Irish study was commissioned by the Department of Health and carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway.

Research shows that this decline forms part of a longer-term trend. A previous WHO Report on Adolescent related behaviours found that alcohol consumption among teenagers in Ireland went from 12.7% in 2002 to 4.1% in 2014.  This figure (4.1%) was well below the European average at the time of 12.9%.

Other studies also back up the recent decline in underage consumption. The latest figures from the UCD My World Survey 2, shows that in 2019 adolescents were more likely to report that they never drank alcohol (58%) , by comparison to adolescents in 2012 (49%). They were also less likely to report drinking monthly (15% vs 18%) and weekly (4% vs 10%).

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland said:

“This research confirms that Ireland is moving in the right direction when it comes to underage drinking.

“We believe that underage drinking should absolutely never occur and work hard to tackle this issue and to ensure that our products are aimed at an adult audience only, for responsible consumption.

“For example, since 2003, the industry has proudly adhered to some of the strictest advertising codes in the world for both content and volume of alcohol advertising. These rules, among other things, have meant that no alcohol advertising can appeal to young people.

“We are committed to continuing to do our part to tackle underage drinking. This will be achieved by industry and stakeholders all working together, through targeted solutions that are effective and evidence based.”