Youth alcohol problem highlighted


Only half of parents with teenage children regularly monitor alcohol levels in their home to ensure it is not being abused, according to survey.

The survey, commissioned by the Aislinn Centre for alcohol addiction, found that while an overwhelming 90 per cent of parents kept some form of alcohol in their homes, they also believed there is a serious problem of alcohol abuse among teenagers.

Despite the high level of people who believed there is an alcohol problem among young people, only half actually checked whether the alcohol in their own homes was being abused.

The survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by Lansdowne Market Research, also showed that 82 per cent of adults believed that young people under the legal drinking age can be prompted to try and regularly use alcohol from watching the drinking habits of their parents.

Director of the Aislinn Centre Declan Jones said: "Often parents give mixed messages to young people by allowing them to have a glass of wine with a meal and then tend to polish off the bottle themselves. This can teach young people that over-consumption is acceptable."

He said: “It is extremely positive that this problem of alcohol abuse among young people is so widely recognised. However, unfortunately many people do not know what to do about it.

“Despite the high level of people agreeing that there is an alcohol problem among young people only half of those surveyed, who have alcohol in their home actually check whether this alcohol might be being abused," he said.

Some 76 per cent of those surveyed believed teenagers who consumred alcohol regularly were more likely to experiment with illegal drugs.

"Alcohol is the gateway drug for young people to experiment with illegal substances. We rarely find cases of young people who find themselves in trouble with drugs that have not experimented with alcohol first," Mr Jones said.

The survey revealed wine to be the common alcoholic drink in people's homes (80 per cent), followed by spirits (70 per cent) and then beer/lager/cider (65 per cent). But among younger people beer /lager /cider was the most popular.