Between 2001 and 2010, Teenage drinking rates have dropped by 17%. Currently 45% of youths choose not to drink in a trend which spans demographic groups.
This research recently released by Dr Michael Livingston from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre lends support to the argument that reducing alcohol availability in Byron Bay would not decrease visitors or local revenues, as much as it would increase revenue from more pleasant visitors.
A rising number of Australian teenagers are choosing not to drink alcohol, new research shows.
The medical journal Addiction published research today from more 2500 youth, revealing that 55% of Australian teens choose not to drink.
Study author Dr Michael Livingston from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre confirms the trend away from teen drinking is across demographics, and mirrored in studies internationally. “It’s really happening across the whole youth culture,” he said.
“It’s happening for boys and girls, young teenagers and old teenagers, in rich and poor households, for English speaking and non-English speaking groups.”
“In this same group we’ve seen a reduction in drug use. Quite a dramatic one over the same period,” Dr Livingston said. Referring to decreases in drug use and smoking in the same population.
There’s also a sense that the current generation is very focused on health and well-being and this is one step they’re taking to try and stay fitter and healthier.Dr Michael Livingston
“These kids are drinking less; they’re not taking drugs.”
“We know from other survey data the general public is getting more concerned about alcohol as a problem and so we’re thinking possibly that’s reflected in parenting practices, also in teenagers’ beliefs,” Dr Livingston said.
“There’s also a sense that the current generation is very focused on health and well-being and this is one step they’re taking to try and stay fitter and healthier.
“There’s some research from Sweden that just engaging in [online] activities, social networking and gaming, is associated with less drinking.”
Harold the Giraffe has been touring Australia with the Life Education team since 1979 educating children on the benefits of health and fitness and the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
Life Education’s National program development manager Robyn Richardson says ”Children in primary school are telling us that they know that when they go to high school there’s going to be pressures to drink and that most people in high school are drinking and we’re actually readjusting their thinking about that,” she said.
“The reality is most young people are making great choices about their health and safety.”
This report helps bust myths among young people about drinking. It’s just not true that “everyone is doing it” anymore.
The full article from the ABC can be viewed on the abc website here