Drinking was associated with smoking and drug use, and having truanted from school.
One fifth of 13–14 years olds who drank were drinking weekly, and the figure was 39% for the 15–16 year olds.
One quarter of the older students had consumed six or more drinks on the last occasion they had taken a drink.
The contribution of other risk factors to disease, such as tobacco use, low physical activity and overweight/obesity only emerged in mid-to-late adulthood.
These findings suggest that public health strategies should focus on child and adolescent health, and that adolescent drinking should be given priority (Gore , 2011).
The 13–14 year olds were more likely to have been drinking alcopops in the 7 days before the survey, whereas the 15–16 year olds were most likely to have been drinking beer, lager, spirits or liqueurs.
By the age of 15–16 years, 79% of the students had been drunk and two-thirds of this group (66%) said they drank to get drunk at least once a month.
The median age at onset was 14 years for alcohol abuse with or without dependence.
This was a nationally representative survey in which over 10,000 young people between the ages of 13 and 18 were interviewed using a modified version of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview.
Early alcohol use is associated not only with more regular and higher levels of alcohol use and dependence in adulthood, but also with more mental health and social harms (Mc Cambridge , 2011).
In the US National Co-morbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement (NCA-S), over ¾ of adolescents (78.2%) had consumed alcohol by late adolescence, and 15.1% met criteria for DSM-IV lifetime alcohol abuse (Swendsen , 2012).