BRITISH TEENAGERS ARE BINGE-DRINKING ‘CHAMPIONS’ OF EUROPE
A European survey of 35 countries reveals 'chronic' drinking problems in 15-16 year-olds, which leads to rifts with parents, unplanned pregnancies and injuries. British teenagers are among the worst binge drinkers in Europe, with girls more likely to get drunk than boys.
The survey found more than half of UK teenagers were binge-drinking in the past month, defined as five or more drinks on any occasion
One in three admitted getting drunk in the past month, the third-highest rate after Denmark and the Isle of Man. Only in Iceland, Norway and Sweden are girls more likely to binge drink .
Binge drinking was first highlighted as more prevalent in girls during research carried out in 2003. "The UK retains its unenviable position in relation to binge-drinking, intoxication and alcohol-related problems among teenagers," confirmed head researcher Professor Martin Plant, from the University of the West of England.
"I hope that the government will prioritise policies that are effective to reduce heavy drinking and alcohol-related disorder and health problems amongst young people… Many people whose alcohol consumption is generally moderate also experience some adverse effects from their drinking."
The survey, which included 1,004 boys and 1,175 girls from the UK, found 18% of teenagers said their drinking had caused problems with their parents, compared with just 3% where drugs were involved.
More teenagers in the UK than almost anywhere else expected "positive consequences" from drinking. Instead, drinking caused one in four to have an accident, while 11% said they "regretted sex" while drunk and 11% cent had unprotected sex.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Labour are neglecting a forgotten generation of teenagers. The government needs to take action now, before it's too late".
BINGE DRINKING AND MISCARRIAGES
Binge drinking by pregnant women led to 4% more miscarriages in England last year: 9,086, compared with 8,763 in 2004.
Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: "Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should steer clear of alcohol. 'These figures show the damaging effect too much alcohol can have on an unborn child".