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Data intelligence summary: Alcohol consumption and harm among under 18 year olds

This report examines the available data on alcohol use and harm among those aged under 18 years of age to investigate trends and highlight any areas for public health action.

Key findings are:

• there is an ongoing downward trend in alcohol consumption among those aged under 16. However, by the age of 17, half of all girls and almost two-thirds of boys report drinking alcohol every week
• young White populations are much more likely to drink than those from a Black and Minority Ethnic group background.
• young people in the least deprived areas are more likely to drink and more likely to drink regularly at the age of 15
• hospital admissions for alcohol-specific conditions, particularly intoxication, are declining among the under 18s
• girls are more likely to be admitted to hospital for alcohol-specific reasons than boys, and are admitted at younger ages
• the number of young people accessing specialist substance misuse services for alcohol problems is at its lowest level, following a peak in 2008-09. However these young people have a range of related risk factors and vulnerabilities that should be addressed in tandem with their substance misuse
• there is some evidence that the alcohol-harm paradoxa seen among adults is also present for young people living in the most deprived areas.
there is a strong relationship between smoking and drinking, with current smokers much more likely to drink alcohol frequently than non-smokers