Australian teenagers are reporting far lower drinking rates than their peers two decades ago, mostly because alcohol is now harder for them to access, a new Deakin University study has found.
The study, published today in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, analysed survey data collected from more than 41,000 teenagers in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland between 1999 and 2015.
Lead researcher Professor John Toumbourou, Chair in Health Psychology at Deakin’s School of Psychology, said this was a huge public health success story for Australia.
"It shows parents are making radical changes in their attitude to underage drinking and also how they model their own drinking behaviour," he said.
"This is a game changer, we can see that parents are taking on the advice from our national health guidelines that even a small amount of alcohol is harmful to teenagers.
"And we believe this is what has seen Australia go from having one of the highest rates of alcohol use by high school students in the world, to one of the lowest.
"It highlights that substantial reductions in alcohol and drug use are possible across large youth populations."
Professor Toumbourou said the findings could now help inform future intervention programs to maintain a decline in teen alcohol use.
"This shows that programs such as school drug education, restrictive underage purchase laws, market regulation, and parent education are all critical in ensuring we protect our young people from drug and alcohol
Parents who give their children alcohol increase the risk that they will binge drink in their teenage years, an Australian study has found.
There is no evidence to support the view that parents who give their children alcohol are reducing the risk of binge drinking or alcohol-related harms in their teenage years, found the study involving just under 2000 adolescents between 12 and 18 years old.
There is no evidence to support the view that parents who give their children alcohol are reducing the risk of binge drinking or alcohol-related harms in their teenage years.
Teenagers whose parents allow them to drink are twice as likely to access alcohol through other sources and engage in binge drinking, the researchers reported on Friday in Lancet Public Health.
Teenagers given alcohol by their parents were 95 per cent more likely to binge drink – more than four standard drinks in one sitting – in the future than those who had found another way to score a drink.
"This reinforces the fact that alcohol consumption leads to harm, no matter how it is supplied," said lead author Professor Richard Mattick, a drug and alcohol dependency and behaviour expert at UNSW. "We advise that parents should avoid supplying alcohol to their teenagers if they wish to reduce their risk of alcohol-related harms."
In a brutally honest account Kerryn Redpath describes the terrifying scenes she witnessed as what began as "a bit of fun" spiralled into a shocking journey through the dark world of drug addiction. Chilling stories of drug overdoses, precious lives lost, drug and alcohol fuelled fights, months spent gravely ill in hospital, at one point being given less than two hours to live, will have the reader gripped to every page….This is a compelling story that takes the reader through one person’s journey from the depths of despair to the realms of hope and is hard to put down until the final page is read.
“This is a story that should be read by all - young and old, parents, teenagers and current or past addicts of all persuasions.” - Associate Professor Peter Ryan
Today, Iceland tops the European table for the cleanest-living teens. The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016. The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent. Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.
The way the country has achieved this turnaround has been both radical and evidence-based, but it has relied a lot on what might be termed enforced common sense. “This is the most remarkably intense and profound study of stress in the lives of teenagers that I have ever seen,” says Milkman. “I’m just so impressed by how well it is working.”
If it was adopted in other countries, Milkman argues, the Icelandic model could benefit the general psychological and physical wellbeing of millions of kids, not to mention the coffers of healthcare agencies and broader society. It’s a big if.