Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Children’s alcohol initiation: An analytic overview

The law in the UK says that children under the age of 5 are not allowed to drink alcohol.  The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, has suggested that while the law around this doesn’t need to change his advice to parents and young people is that they shouldn’t drink at all before the age of 15.

Nevertheless, we know that many parents believe that introducing children and young people to alcohol is part of their role in helping their children to grow up.

This research looks at what we know about alcohol initiation in early childhood. In the abstract the authors argue

Whilst parents need to be supported to make decisions that are informed by ‘evidence’, policymakers need to be mindful of the role of ideology in policy development and the potential differences in risk factors for initiation to alcohol and the misuse of alcohol.


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