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“2020health is an important and thoughtful contributor to the health debate”

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chairman, Health Select Committee


Digital Journal Teenage girls in Britain ranked second as biggest boozers

For years, drinking alcohol and getting drunk in public was something that most women and girls in the U.K. would have seen as socially unacceptable. But times have changed, and young women, wanting "to be cool" are instead getting falling down drunk.

Speaking before a group of concerned advocates for better government control on advertising of alcohol products, Julia Manning, chief executive of the think tank 2020Health, cited Britain's lack of concern over what is happening to the country's children.

Referring to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it was found that out of 27 countries included in the study, The U.K. was among only seven countries where teenage girls were more likely to get drunk than boys.

More revealing, it was found that behind Denmark, Britain came in second with the biggest percentage of 15-year-old girls getting drunk. This has resulted in what's now being called an epidemic among young women. This also includes a substantial increase in the diagnosis of end-stage liver disease being seen in 20 to 30-year-olds. In total, 44 percent of 15-year-old girls and 39 percent of 15-year-old boys in Britain admit to being drunk at least two times in recent months.

Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, a special advisor on alcohol to the Royal College of Physicians, pointed to advertising that showed the consumption of alcohol as being "socially acceptable" to be the core of the issue. He said: “We are now seeing more and more young women - in their 30's and even in their 20's - with end-stage liver disease. This isn’t necessarily about alcoholics either; this is young women who started early and got into the habit of drinking in large amounts.”

Eric Appleby, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “Young people are bombarded with alcohol advertising telling them it’s normal to drink, and it’s available everywhere at pocket money prices." He added that the government should initiate minimum unit pricing and crack down on parents buying alcohol for their children.

Surprising statistics revealed that among 11 to 15-year-olds who had consumed alcohol over the past month, one in five said the alcohol had been purchased by their parents for them.
What is really damning about these latest statistics on teen drunkenness is that they are nothing new. A story was published in the Express, dated March 27, 2009, headlined: "Teen drinking in Britain 'chronic.'" That story revealed some interesting statistics.

In the article, The 2007 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs survey was cited, with data showing that out of 35 countries in the study, the U.K. had the third highest number of 15 and 16-year-olds with alcohol problems.

But it wasn't just drinking problems that were brought out in the study. Recklessness, fights, increased trouble with the police, and unprotected sex was also mentioned. It has now been five years since the story came out in the Express, and now, it looks like Britain will have to finally take action on what could become a "time-bomb" that may be ready to blow-up.