Studies show teenagers are sensible drinkers

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The Independent Online
MOST TEENAGERS were sensible drinkers and remained so in later life, despite stories of the growing menace of alcohol misuse by young people, a conference was told yesterday.

The 'lager louts' of the 1980s had not multiplied and the number of police convictions linked to drunkenness had remained stable, Dr Carl May, a lecturer in medical sociology at Liverpool University, said. Recent studies showed no evidence that heavy drinking in the mid-teens automatically led to problems in adulthood.

Post-mortem examinations of drivers showed fewer were over the drink/driving limit, the steepest drop being among teenagers. Heavy drinkers made up a small proportion of the near 90 per cent of teenagers who used alcohol.

A 1,036-strong study of 15 to 16-year-olds showed just 20 boys and 4 girls had drunk more than 50 units of alcohol in the preceding week, the London conference on alcohol and young people heard.

'Most adolescents appear to be able to use and misuse alcohol without suffering any of its undesirable, social or clinical consequences,' Dr May said.