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Character and moderation encouraging the next generation of responsible drinkers

In 2012, the Coalition Government announced their Alcohol Strategy to tackle alcohol misuse and binge drinking across the UK. While there are many serious outstanding challenges related to problematic drinking in the UK, over the last decade there have emerged a number of positive trends showing a decline in problematic alcohol consumption, particularly among young Britons. According to figures from the Office of National Statistics released in February this year, the proportion of young adults (those aged 16-24) who reported binge drinking fell from 29% to 18% - a decrease of more than a third.1 Moreover, the proportion of young people who report being teetotal increased by 40% from 2005-2013. Similar declines can be seen among school pupils. According to HSCIC, in 2003 61% of school pupils reported drinking alcohol at least once in their lives2, but in 2013 this figure had fallen to 39 per cent.3 This trend isn’t unique to Britain, and is being seen in other countries like Australia and the US as well. Moreover, as we argue below, this trend cannot be put down to increasing immigration from communities who do not drink.

The positive trends in the official statistics are mirrored by an original Demos survey recently conducted by YouGov. The nationally representative survey found that the majority of young people aged 16-24 in the UK do not consider alcohol to be important to their social lives (66%); and many of those who do drink believe that alcohol is more important to their parents’ social lives than to their own (41%).

 

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