A study, by the World Health Organisation, will show that more young people in Britain have been drunk at a young age than in most other developed countries.
The figures, published every couple of years and to be released on Wednesday, look at the intake of alcohol and drugs, and the sexual behaviour, of young teenagers in 41 countries across the world.
They are expected to show that Britain has the fourth highest levels of underage drinking among 15-year-olds.
They go on to say that this is a slight improvement on the last survey where we were 2nd to Denmark.
There’s also a fair bit of coverage of the proposals being put forward by the Scottish Government, which include raising the age at which young people can purchase alcohol in off-licensed premises to 21.
The Telegraph has an opinion piece by Alan Cochrane:
I have some sympathy with the ministers in their quest to try to cut back on binge and underage drinking. At their press conference today, they’re bound to say that raising the age limit to 21 would be a clear demonstration of how seriously they take the problem.
But while such a move might stop some drink getting into the hands of children, it can’t have anything other than a minimal effect.
The Independent has a leader:
Scotland has one of the fastest growing rates of liver cirrhosis in the world. Does it not make sense to make alcohol harder to get hold of, if only for teenagers?
The answer is no. While one can sympathise with politicians wanting to take radical action to curb binge drinking, the remedy does not lie in simplistic legislative responses. Just as new 24-hour drinking laws did not lead to the boom in alcohol-related crime that some scaremongering press predicted, so raising the legal age of buying alcohol from off-licences will not bring about a dramatic decline in the type of anti-social behaviour associated with binge drinking…
…the key to fighting it lies not in fiddling with the statute book, but in fostering a longer-term change in attitudes. Such a shift can only be achieved through a concerted education campaign that makes all of us rethink our relationship with alcohol. It is no quick fix, but it remains the only realistic way of creating a more responsible attitude towards drinking in Britain.
With booze like White Lightning cider widely available for as little as 35p a can, even young children can afford to get dangerously drunk for under a fiver.
All-day drinking in the park or the high street is almost a rite of passage in Britain’s binge-drinking culture, which sees some teenagers consume around 200 units of alcohol in a week– nearly ten times the adult male’s safe limit.
See also – Plan for ‘minimum priced’ alcohol (BBC); Underage drinking ‘will not stop’ (BBC); Affluent drinkers are ‘in denial’ (BBC); ‘Radical’ alcohol sales plans due (Channel 4); Should it be illegal for under-21s to buy booze? (The Mirror)
Filed under: alcohol, Scotland