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Under-18s drink just for "something to do"

Published:  06 July, 2009

Drinkaware is launching a guide to help teachers and youth workers better tackle under-age drinking after its research found 25% of young people drink alcohol just for "something to do".

The Drinkaware survey, completed in March 2009, shows that young people rank drinking more highly than playing sports or reading, and are less concerned about getting drunk than having unsafe sex.

The survey also revealed 59% of professionals working with under-18s don't have the support and information they need to provide alcohol education.

Chris Sorek, chief executive of Drinkaware, said: "Many young people unintentionally put themselves at risk when they drink alcohol and it is crucial that young people are given the facts about drinking and its effects.

"Under-18s need to know what drinking does to their body and appearance - as well as how to avoid peer pressure and stay safe."

The guide demonstrates the effect of alcohol on health and appearance, which Drinkaware says is of concern to most young people.

Also included is research on how to communicate alcohol messages effectively to eight-17 year olds, and an overview of Drinkaware's youth campaign plans for 2009.

The guide will be available from /tips-and-tools from Tuesday 7 July.

The Drinkaware research also found that:

· on average young people have their first alcoholic drink aged 13.4 years; are 14.2 years old when they first get drunk; and over three fifths (60%) say they started drinking because it was part of "being young and socialising".

· young people are less concerned about getting drunk (15%), than they are about having unsafe sex (45%), taking recreational drugs (44%) and not getting qualifications (21%).