Home > Alcohol through the life course: underage drinkers.

Institute of Alcohol Studies. (2020) Alcohol through the life course: underage drinkers. London: Institute of Alcohol Studies.

PDF (Alcohol through the life course: underage drinkers) - Published Version


  • The Chief Medical Officer for England recommends that an alcohol-free childhood up to 18 is the safest option. The law states alcohol may only be purchased by people aged 18 or over, but the law on underage alcohol consumption is more complex.
  • Drinking alcohol during adolescence poses a range of health and social risks, which means reducing it needs to be a policy priority.
  • Despite recent declines, underage drinking remains prevalent across the UK. Particularly alarmingly a significant minority of adolescents consume alcohol at high levels – greater even than the adult low-risk guidelines.
  • A complex array of interconnected factors are causally associated with underage drinking, and understanding these presents key potential policy targets.
  • Underage drinking has declined in the UK, but there is some emerging evidence that this decline may be slowing and in parts of the UK may even have reversed.
Item Type
Publication Type
International, Report
Drug Type
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
October 2020
25 p.
Institute of Alcohol Studies
Corporate Creators
Institute of Alcohol Studies
Place of Publication

Repository Staff Only: item control page