Home > Drinking patterns and preferences among Irish substance abusing teenagers: a pilot study.

Kearns, Caitriona and James, Philip and Smyth, Bobby P (2011) Drinking patterns and preferences among Irish substance abusing teenagers: a pilot study. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 22, (3), pp. 124-129. https://doi.org/10.3109/10884602.2011.585720.

Underage alcohol use continues to be an ongoing concern in Irish society. Staff at an Irish adolescent drug and alcohol service set out to determine the drinking patterns of clients accessing treatment. Clients aged 14 to 18 were invited to complete a brief questionnaire pertaining to their drinking habits. There were definite trends in the types of alcohol used by clients of the service, with beer and vodka being the preferred alcoholic beverages consumed. As evidence points to the idea that beer drinking in teenage years appears to be correlated to higher rates of alcohol dependence in early adulthood, it is perhaps not surprising that the drink of preference for our client group was lager. Brand loyalty was also evident. Budweiser lager and Smirnoff vodka were the most commonly used alcoholic drinks of our client group. Fifty percent of adolescents accessing treatment reported that they usually drink Budweiser, with 26.5% citing Smirnoff. These are interesting findings in the light of the fact that there are cheaper alternatives available.

When exploring levels of consumption, we saw that clients accessing treatment report high levels of alcohol use. Typical units consumed were 18.5 units by male clients and 17.5 by females. Most of the clients reported obtaining their alcohol in off licences, and frighteningly, despite that fact that respondents are currently attending treatment, 11% of clients informed us that it is their parents who buy the alcohol for them. Findings and future implications for research are discussed.

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