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[irishhealth.com] , Condon, Deborah Significant binge drinking among 5th-years. (03 Apr 2013)

URL: http://www.irishhealth.com/article.html?id=21911

Alcohol consumption among young people in Ireland typically begins around mid-adolescence, with ‘significant bingeing' evident by fifth year in secondary school, a new Irish study has found.

According to researchers at University College Dublin (UCD), underage drinking continues to be a major public health concern, not just in Ireland, but in many parts of the world.

However, heavy drinking by teenagers can have a number of serious health and social consequences, including poor school development, accidents and the future risk of becoming dependent on alcohol.

Adolescence is also the time when most mental health problems begin and the researchers noted that there is evidence that teenagers who use alcohol ‘are at increased risk for developing mental health difficulties, including emotional and behavioural problems'.

They decided to look into this further by following the progress of over 6,000 teenagers randomly selected from 72 secondary schools nationwide. All of the participants were aged between 12 and 19 and 51% were female.

The teenagers' drinking habits and mental health were assessed.

The study found that almost half of the students never drank alcohol, while one in five drank less than once a month. Almost one in five said they drank monthly and one in 10 drank weekly.

As expected, the younger the teenager, the less likely they were to drink. Some 83% of first-year students said they never drank. This fell to 68% in second year. By sixth year, just 8% said they never drank.

 

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