Irish start drinking at 13 to copy parents
Source: The Spirits Business
by Melita Kiely
21st April, 2015
Irish teenagers are “routinely” drinking alcohol from as young as 13, mimicking their parents’ behavior, the latest research has shown.
Seven large studies were conducted over the course of three years with data collected from 26 schools in Cork, Ireland.
The results were published this year in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine and revealed that out of 2,716 adolescents aged between 15 and 17, 2,424 admitted they had consumed alcohol at least once – 83%.
Out of these same school children, 37% admitted they had been “really drunk” on one to three occasions in the last few months.
Furthermore, the data revealed a link between parental and teenage alcohol misuse, with teenagers mirroring what they observe Irish adults doing.
As reported by the Independent, Dr. Bobby Smyth, a psychiatrist who specializes in adolescent addiction, said: “I’m convinced the drinking situation for teenagers is no worse now than it was 10 years ago. My guess is that it’s actually a little better, but the way adolescents are drinking is mirroring the way adults are drinking, where people to drink to get drunk.
“People are now routinely starting to drink at the age of 14, which is a couple of years lower than it was a generation ago.
“To drink in an unhealthy way in Ireland is sort of the norm.”
According to a World Health Organization (WHO) global status report on alcohol and health last year, Ireland has the second highest rate of binge drinking in the world, while a government-funded report concluded that alcohol has become “embedded” in the country’s national identity.
A spokesman for Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) commented: “When it comes to drinking, young people are, in many ways, a product of their environment and we have created an environment for them that is saturated with alcohol.
“We have normalized heavy drinking.”