New findings: The rate of teens choosing to live free from alcohol almost doubles in 13 years
A new study found that the number of 14 to 17-year olds choosing to live free from alcohol has doubled in the past 13 years. The patterns of alcohol use has thus shifted more dramatically among Australian adolescents compared to any other age group.
The negative effects of alcohol and other factors are said to be behind the shift according to public health experts.
- In 2001, 28% of 14- to 17-year olds reported living free from alcohol use.
- In 2013, the number increased to 57.3%, according to a study by the Center for Alcohol Policy Research.
The Center analysed data from 120,000 respondents to the national drug strategy household survey.
Additionally to the dramatic shift among Australian adolescents, the researchers also found a small but significant increase in the overall number of Australians who reported being a lifetime abstainer from alcohol.
- In 2001, 9.4% of respondents said they were lifetime abstainers.
- In 2014, the number rose to 14.1% with youth driving the increase.
Importantly, despite an overall reduction in alcohol use, the top 10% alcohol user were responsible for 53.2% of total alcohol consumption in 2013. This means an increase from 48.9% compared to 13 years ago. The study also found a significant increase in the number of occasions where Australians 30- to 59-years of age said they were using 20 or more alcoholic beverages.
Similar levels of binge alcohol use among teenagers had declined by 10% since 2001.
The results support other recent studies, including the Australian secondary schools survey, which found youth alcohol intake was in decline. Research from the United States and the UK shows similar trends.