According to a newly released report compiled by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, underage alcohol consumption in Ireland has continued to decline in the second half of the last decade.
The study shows that in 2018, 64% of young people in Ireland aged between 10-17 had never had an alcoholic drink, an increase of 6% since 2014.
Drinks Ireland, the representative body for drinks manufactures and suppliers, has welcomed the research, which is part of an international study for the World Health Organisation (WHO). The Irish study was commissioned by the Department of Health and carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway.
Research shows that this decline forms part of a longer-term trend. A previous WHO report on adolescent related behaviours found that alcohol consumption by teenagers in Ireland went from 12.7% in 2002 to 4.1% in 2014. This figure of 4.1% was well below the 12.9% European average at the time.
Other studies also back up the recent decline in underage consumption. The latest figures from the UCD My World Survey 2 shows that in 2019 58% of adolescents were more likely to report that they never drank alcohol, compared to 49% of adolescents in 2012. They were also less likely to report drinking monthly (15% vs 18%) and weekly (4% vs 10%).
Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland, said: “This research confirms that Ireland is moving in the right direction when it comes to underage drinking.
“We are committed to continuing to do our part to tackle underage drinking. This will be achieved by industry and stakeholders all working together, through targeted solutions that are effective and evidence based.”