Australian government report on teenage drinking
The National Drug Strategy Monograph: ‘Australian secondary school students’ use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2008’, was released in January by the Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler.
The report found that 8 out of 10 Australian secondary students aged between 12 and 17 years had tried alcohol at some time in their lives and 61% had consumed alcohol in the 12 months preceding the 2008 survey. The proportion of students drinking in the seven days before the survey was around 23%. Involvement with alcohol increased with age, with the proportion of students drinking in the seven days before the survey increasing from 11% of 13-year-olds to 41% of 17-year-olds. In the week before the survey slightly under 20% of all 17-year-old students had consumed alcohol at risky levels (7 or more drinks a day for males, 5 or more drinks a day for females). Premixed spirits were the most preferred beverage among female current drinkers, while beer and spirits were the most preferred beverages for male current drinkers. Adolescents who consumed alcohol in the previous seven days most commonly obtained their alcohol from their parents (34%) or friends (22%) and consumed alcohol in their own home (31%) or at a party (30%).
The proportion of students aged between 12 and 17 years drinking in 2008 was lower than levels found in 2005 and 2002. The proportion of 12- to 15-year-olds drinking in the week before the survey decreased significantly between 2002 (29%) and 2008 (17%) and between 2005 (22%) and 2008. The proportion of 16- and 17-year-olds drinking in the week before the survey in 2008 (38%) was significantly lower than the proportion found in 2005 (47%) and 2002 (48%). While for both age groups, the proportion of all students drinking at risky levels in the week before the survey was lower in 2008 than in 2005 and 2002, there was no change in the proportion of current drinkers drinking at risky levels between 2002 and 2008.