Alcoholic Drinking Among Australian Teens Still Prevalent, Younger Teen Drinking Drops

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | December 11, 2012 5:49 PM EST

A survey of 25,000 Australian high school students has found that alcoholic drinking among younger teens 12 to 15 years dropped. However, those considered older teens aged 16 to 17 continued to consume alcohol in much riskier levels. 

The Australian Secondary Students' Alcohol and Drug Survey, which is done every three years on students aged 12 to 17, found that one in every five pupils drank alcohol in the past week.

Compared 17 per cent in 2008, those who consumed alcohol within seven days among students aged 12 to 15 years dropped to 11 per cent, whereas for those aged 16 and 17, it was found that 33 per cent took in alcohol in the past week versus the 38 per cent in 2008.

Still, Cancer Council said that the latter age group continued to pose a concern for authorities. The survey discovered that binge drinking still is a prevalent scenario among the 16 to 17-year-olds having more than four drinks on a single occasion.

"Drinking in teenage years is linked to higher risks of alcohol dependence problems in young adulthood, and excessive consumption is a cause of many chronic illnesses such as cancer," Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria chief executive, said.

"It means another generation is inheriting risky drinking behavior."

Mr Harper called on the federal government to conduct public education campaigns backed up by strategies that also look at the price of alcohol.

"Some of the most potent forms of alcohol are very cheap at the moment," he said.

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