Dr Jo Inchley, a senior research fellow in the St Andrews School of Medicine, is the lead editor on a paper that has been recently published on the drinking habits of European adolescents, arguing that Scottish teens are drinking less.
The report, published by the World Health Organisation, reveals that there has been a reduction in drinking in areas that had a previously high rate of harmful drinking, including the UK.
The report draws upon data collected in 1990 from health behaviour in school-aged children, and focuses on 15-year-old girls and boys across Europe and their weekly drinking consumption since 2002.
The report uncovers that Scotland, specifically, has seen a drastic decrease in weekly drinking: among girls it has dropped from 41 per cent to 11 per cent and in boys from 41 per cent to 14 per cent.
Scotland’s drop is the second largest for girls out of the 36 European countries and the fourth largest for boys.
Dr Inchley comments on the tremendous improvement of drinking habits saying, “This makes it clear that change is possible; however, more should be done to ensure that adolescents are effectively protected from the harms caused by alcohol.”
What is concerning, however, is that the report reveals that about a quarter of girls and a third of boys in Scotland start drinking before the age 13.
This can lead them to develop a dependency on alcohol earlier on in life and can be dangerous for adolescents’ futures.
Although Europe is currently seeing a positive change in the drinking patterns of adolescents, statistics reveal that there are still improvements to be made, as Scotland is one of the top 10 countries in Europe for adolescent drinking.