Around one in four Finnish 15–16 year-olds abstain from alcohol and other drugs.
Binge alcohol use is on the decrease, too. Adolescents perceived, however, the risks of alcohol and other drug use as small.
These findings derive from the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ESPAD).
Alcohol use has dropped
The proportion of youth choosing to live free from alcohol among 15–16 year-olds has increased over the years from one in ten adolescents in 1995 to one in four in 2015. Even binge alcohol intake has decreased among adolescents.
While about half of 15–16 year-olds had consumed at least six units at one occasion once or more often during the past 30 days in 1995, only one in four adolescents had done so in 2015. Gender differences are minor.
Adolescents perceive the risks of alcohol and other drug use smaller than before
The risks associated with regular moderate alcohol intake are perceived minor by an increasing number of 15–16 year-olds. Even experimenting with cannabis is perceived to be less risky than before. On the other hand, attitudes towards binge alcohol intake have become less liberal.
The more liberal attitudes towards cannabis can predict use in later life. Achieving lower levels of alcohol consumption even among older generations requires studies into the reasons why adolescents use less alcohol than before.
The international ESPAD report, scheduled to be finalised in August or September, will show how Finland ranks among other European countries.