Over a third of Irish teens have gone binge drinking, according to HSE research.
A survey conducted by The National Health Service shows the amount of teenagers drinking in Ireland is on the rise.
Over four thousand, 15 to 16-year-olds from the West of Ireland were questioned as part of the research.
“This study identified a high prevalence of ever binge drinking among 15–16-year-old adolescents in the West of Ireland, with nine risk factors and four protective factors independently associated with this alcohol-use behaviour," researchers said.
Facts & Figures
While a third of teens had been binge drinking in the past, over one-fifth of them had done it at least five times.
The research also showed teens were most likely to get alcohol from their friends (33%) or their parents (18%). Peer pressure to drink is unfortunately common in Irish society, 88 per cent of teens surveyed said their friends all drink. However, the large number of young teens who were getting alcohol from their parents is concerning experts.
Medical Director of the Priority Medical Clinic, Dr. Garrett McGovern says this relaxed attitude has consequences:
"Drinking at home in front of your children, I think the research will show is not the greatest idea. If you have a permissive attitude towards alcohol, the likelihood is your Children will have a permissive attitude towards alcohol and cigarette smoking I may add. You can't watch your kids, and you know the adolescents are going to be adults at some stage. But I don't think a permissive attitude towards alcohol is really the right way to go."
Other findings from the survey included:
- Young teen girls were 50 per cent less likely to binge drink than boys.
- The odds of binge drinking were 1.3 and 1.5 times higher for those who reported participating in team/club sports one to four times per week.
- The odds of binge drinking are nearly 2 times higher for teens who report having bad mental health.
- Teens of non-white ethnicity had 51% lower odds of ever binge drinking.
"It's A Shame"
Addiction specialist Dr Garrett McGovern says drinking is too closely related to Irish culture.
He says Ireland needs to reevaluate its relationship with alcohol:
"We can't seem to do anything after sort of twilight hours without alcohol. There tends to be what I would call a reverse moral high ground. If you go to any event and you say you're not drinking, you're looked at with a quizzical look, and a 'why not'? So we do find it very hard to actually do anything in our free time that doesn't involve alcohol, which is a shame."
If you or anyone you know is struggling with alcohol, please see the DrinkAware website for help.