According to new figures, the number of A&E admissions for children and teenagers related to alcohol abuse has declines, however the levels for adult visits has increased.
Research which was published by the Portman Group, a representative of the alcohol industry, said that more than 90% of British parents are unaware of the fall in alcohol consumption in children aged between 11 and 15.
The poll results follow the release of figures by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) which indicate that the number of 11 to 15-year olds who have tried alcohol has declined by 34% since 2004. The numbers who are of the opinion that it is fine to consume alcohol once a week has declined by 33%.
The Portman/YouGov poll of more than 1000 parents indicated that 96% of them were not aware of this decline. When informed of the trend and asked their opinion of the reasons for this decline, around 57% stated that it was the stricter stance taken by shops and pubs regarding underage drinking.
Other reasons for the decline included the popularity of social media and other technologies which keep young people busy and the increase in ethnic groups where alcohol consumption is forbidden. These results made up for around 25% and 20% respectively.
Around 15% blamed alcohol labelling and 12% were of the opinion that young people were simply rebelling against their parents’ generation which had a more liberal attitude to alcohol consumption.
Government statistics indicate that 75% of 11 to 15-year olds obtain alcohol from family or friends. About 19% obtain it from strangers and only 5% make use of shops or pubs.
The chief executive of the Portman Group, Henry Ashworth, said that the research highlights the massive gap between parents’ perception and the shift in underage alcohol consumption. He said that it is necessary to improve the understanding as to the reasons for this shift and why parents are unaware of this.
He added that they are very pleased to see that pubs and shops are not being recognised as suppliers of alcohol for young people. This indicates the success of schemes, such as Challenge 21 and Challenge 25, in preventing sales of alcohol to minors.
However, in spite of the decline in young people being treated at the A&E, an increase of about 10% has been experienced in the admissions of people of all ages related to alcohol abuse.
During 2009/10, around 545830 people were admitted to A&E because of alcohol abuse, compared to 609894 during 2012/13.
According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, alcohol consumption among younger secondary school children is about 50% less that it was 10 years ago. The results indicate that 39% of pupils who were questioned in 2013 had ever consumed alcohol, compared to 64% during 1990. During 2013, 9% of pupils admitted to drinking alcohol in the past seven days, compared to 25% during 2003.
Image Credit: Kim Strømstad