Drinking among young people is in ‘sharp decline’

The University of Sheffield has published a new report exploring the ‘sharp decline’ in rates of youth drinking.

Based on previously available public data, “Youth Drinking in Decline” brings together information from two recent surveys to present a picture of the downturn in alcohol use among young people. The report found a “significant decline” in drinking patterns amongst children and young people in England, mirrored across the UK.

It also revealed that:

  • Among 16-17 year-olds in England, the proportion who reported drinking fell from 88% in 2001 to 65% in 2016
  • Over the same period, the decline in drinking for 16-24 year-olds fell from 90% to 78%.
  • The proportion of 8-12 year-olds who have ever had an alcoholic drink fell from 25% in 2002 to 4% in 2016
  • Amongst 11-15 year-olds, the same figure fell from 61% in 2003 to 38% in 2016

The figures suggest more young people are becoming aware of harms caused by drinking and are choosing to abstain from alcohol.

However, policy chiefs are urging services to remember that “youth drinking has not gone away” and to continue spreading a message on harm prevention. Find out more about the report and read about the risks of under-age drinking.