Irish adolescents as young as 13 starting to develop bad alcohol habits.

Irish adolescents as young as 13 starting to develop bad alcohol habits.

Shocking new studies show that adolescents as young as 13-year-old are developing worrying alcohol habits.

Ireland is notorious for its drinking culture and new studies suggest that Ireland's older generation's attitude to alcohol is negatively affecting Irish youth. 

Seven large studies which took place over past three years have uncovered shocking figures in relation to Ireland's young people's alcohol consumption and relationship with alcohol.

The most alarming research can be seen in a recently published study in the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, which collected data from 26 schools in Co.Cork.

The information shows that out of 2,716 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 17, 2,424 admitted to consuming alcohol at least once; that's 83 percent of all of the students in question. 

Of the students surveyed, 50 per cent confessed to drinking between one and five units of alcohol every week and 37 per cent said that they had been "really drunk" on one to three occasions in the last month. 

In reference to these worrying figures, experts are warning that the problem of Irish teenager's substance misuse is closely linked to the actions of their parents and guardians- Ireland's young people are following the lead of the adults around them.

Clinical Psychotherapist Joanna Fortune of Solamh said to be aware that teenagers are looking at their parents relationship with alcohol and taking example from it.

"One young person said to me that they would wait until their mum had book club or friends over because there's so much drinking going on in the house among the adults that they don't notice if some alcohol goes missing."

Psychiatrist of adolescent addiction, Dr. Bobby Smyth, commented; “I’m convinced the drinking situation for teenagers is no worse now than it was 10 years ago. My guess is that it’s actually a little better, but the way adolescents are drinking is mirroring the way adults are drinking, where people to drink to get drunk"

A global status report on health and alcohol released by The World Health Organisations in 2014 showed that Ireland has the second highest rate of binge drinking in the world. It found that 39 percent of all Irish people, from ages 15 and up had engaged in "heavy episodic drinking" in the past 30 days. 

Joanna Fortune believes that adults play a vital role in changing how Irish teenagers relate to alcohol. She advises parents to be open with their children about drinking and recommends setting limits and boundaries to keep them safe. 

A spokesperson from AAI (Alcohol Action Ireland) said that it is futile to point the finger at Irish teenagers for their alcohol consumption. He commented that when it comes to drinking, young people are "a product of their environment, and we have created an environment for them that is saturated in alcohol. "We have normalised heavy drinking." 

Aoife CodyKane