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Researchers discovered that young teenagers are more likely to drink in public places. Alamy Stock Photos

Most Dublin school children who drink obtain alcohol from their parents and other adults

Students are more likely to buy alcohol from a shop than drink in a pub, despite the same age restrictions.

THE MAJORITY OF school children are obtaining alcohol from their parents and other adults a new study has revealed.

The North Dublin Regional Drugs and Alcohol Task Force’s alcohol research study has also found that most 14-16 year olds are drinking outdoors, in fields, parks and in the street.

The research, conducted in association with the Dublin Trinity College medical school, has been regarded as the most “comprehensive alcohol research” undertaken in the North Dublin area to date and collected data from over 2,600 school children in 2021.

The Planet Youth Survey, conducted as part of the study, looks at children’s use and relationship with alcohol in North Dublin, for the first time. It surveyed 2,677 young teenagers from the region.

The survey found that over 1,200 young teenagers, between 14 and 16 years old, had been drunk in the last year and the majority of them got the alcohol from their parents, other adults or friends.

The most common places the group said they were drinking were in public settings – such as parks or on the street – or at parties or someone else’s home. In total, 12.8% of the group said they had consumed alcohol at home.

It also found that, among the group of students who said they drank, most or almost all of their friends and peers also drank. 

A very limited number of students said they drank in pubs or nightclubs, where age restrictions was the obvious factor as a cause.

However, where around 180 people said they drank in a licensed premise, purchasing the alcohol from similar premises was the fourth most popular method.

Even though the same strict age restrictions apply, 235 students said they obtained their alcohol from a shop.

The study found that the students were far less likely to steal the alcohol or use dial-a-drink services, despite the lack of regulation and the smaller likelihood that they would be asked for proof-of-age.

Just over 1% of the group admitted to stealing alcohol, which researchers attributed to the risk and possible persecution involved in committing such an act.

The premium cost of using an unlicensed dial-a-drink service was attributed to the reason why it was the second lowest method of purchasing alcohol.

Researchers discovered that students who were out after midnight 1-3 times a week were most likely to have been drinking, or had been drinking in the past 30 days. It found that students were more likely to start getting drunk after turning 15 and older.

‘Noticeable differences’ in attitudes towards alcohol

The study shows that the group’s parents’ attitude towards the consumption of alcohol was much more relaxed when compared to how their children determined their attitude to the use of e-cigarettes, traditional cigarettes or marijuana.

Researchers noted that there is a “noticeable difference” in the parent’s attitude to alcohol, compared to other substances.

Over 90% of all of the group’s parents were totally against the consumption of nicotine or weed products, while, in comparison, just 70% were against their children consuming alcohol.

Children who had drank in the last year were far more likely to have a parent or carer get drunk themselves weekly, compared to students who had drank within a month before the survey.

The young teenagers’ viewed other substances such as cannabis, tobacco, ecstasy and cocaine as “harmful”, but there was a mixed reception when it came to alcohol.

Despite alcohol being one of the most harmful, legal substances available, 51% of the group thought that substance was “not harmful”, while between 85-94% of them viewed tobacco, ecstasy and cocaine as harmful.

A portion of the students, 60%, believed cannabis was not harmful while 85% of them believed tobacco was.

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