Figures released in July by the ONS and HSCIC reveal the rate of underage drinking has fallen to the lowest level since 1988, when records first began. The Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Among Young People in England report contains results from an annual survey of secondary school pupils in England in years 7 to 11 (mostly aged 11 to 15). 5,187 pupils in 174 schools completed questionnaires in the autumn term of 2013. The 2013 annual survey found that: 39% of pupils said they had drunk alcohol at least once. This continues the downward trend since 2003, when 61% of pupils had drunk alcohol, and is lower than at any time since 1988. Boys and girls were equally likely to have ever consumed alcohol. • Pupils who drank alcohol in the last week drank a mean of 8.2 units of alcohol, the lowest average amount since 2007, when the current method of calculating units was introduced. Boys and girls drank similar amounts. Most pupils who drank alcohol in the last week consumed more than one type of alcoholic drink. Boys drank 63% of their intake of alcohol in the form of beer, lager or ciderwith spirits accounting for 16% and alcopops 13%. Girls’ intake was more diverse, being divided more evenly between beer, lager and cider (30%), wine (25%), spirits (22%) and alcopops (20%).
The proportion of pupils who have had an alcoholic drink increased with age from 6% of 11 year olds to 72% of 15 year olds. 9% of pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week. This proportion has fallen from 25% in 2003. 53% of pupils thought it was OK for someone of their age to try drinking alcohol.The proportions of pupils who drank alcohol in the last week increased from 1% of 11year olds to 22% of 15 year olds. 74% of pupils who drank alcohol in