UK underage drinking drops 52%

4th February, 2020 by Owen Bellwood

Weekly alcohol consumption among 13- to 16-year-olds in the UK more than halved between 2015 and 2019, according to a report from Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP).

The Community Alcohol Partnerships uncovered a decrease in regular drinking among 13-16-year-olds

According to the report, the number of 13-16-year-olds who consumed alcohol once a week in the UK fell by 52% during this period.

The report from CAPs, which aims to reduce alcohol harm caused by underage drinkers, also uncovered a 40% reduction in youth alcohol-related anti-social behaviour from 2015-2019. Furthermore, it reported a 90% reduction in the number of residents reporting seeing under 18s drinking in the local area.

During 2015 and 2019, CAPs found a 77% reduction in young people hanging around shops and asking adults to buy alcohol for them, and observed an 80% improvement in compliance with Challenge 25 initiatives, a policy that encourages licensed traders to check the age of anyone looking under the age of 25.

Derek Lewis, chair of CAP, said: “Underage drinking is associated with school and educational problems, unprotected sex, consumption of illicit drugs, violence and drinking problems in later life. We have been greatly encouraged to see emerging evidence that CAPs are reducing alcohol consumption by underage children.”

According to CAPs, consumption rates among the 11-15-year-old demographic in England fell from 20% in 2001 to 4% in 2013. In Scotland, regular drinking (at least once a week) among 15-year-olds declined from around 40% in 2004 to 16% in 2015, but rose to 20% in 2018.

Lewis added: “While the proportion of young people in England who regularly consume alcohol has dropped slowly between 2001 and 2018, the reductions achieved in CAP areas are even greater, with 52% average reductions in regular drinking among 13-16-year-olds.

“We believe that this reflects the increasing emphasis on working with schools within the CAP areas.”

Since CAP launched in 2007, 201 schemes have been activated in England, Scotland and Wales. They bring together local stakeholders with a shared interest in preventing underage drinking and encouraging responsible drinking among young adults.

CAPs are made up of partnerships between retailers, local authorities, police, schools, neighbourhood groups and health providers.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our newsletter