Underage drinking has fallen by over 40 percent in Britain, finds a new report by the International Association for Responsible Drinking (IARD).
The analysis shows that the underage drinking has declined in over two-thirds of the 63 countries where national data is available since 2003.
Across Britain, weekly drinking rates among 11- to 15-year-old boys have fallen by between 46 percent and 64 percent, while the rates among girls have dropped by between 54 percent and 64 percent during the 2010–2014 period.
Additional research among 12,000 adults in nine countries including the UK – conducted by YouGov for IARD – found that, on average, over half (54%) of survey respondents agreed that government regulations to prevent underage drinking were not well enforced.
The report, at the same time, identifies the retail-based programs in the UK – ‘Challenge 21’ and ‘Challenge 25’ – as “innovative partnerships in action.”
“Government regulations, such as legal drinking ages, are the cornerstone for reducing underage drinking. But, effective partnerships between industry, the public sector, and civil society are crucial to promoting awareness of the risks and continuing the progress that’s already underway,” commented Henry Ashworth, chief executive of IARD.
Over a third, on average, also (40%) believed that the alcohol industry should play a role in reducing underage drinking, coming second to family members (74%).
UK alcohol producers welcomed the report, noting their contribution to curb the menace.
“Drinks producers and retailers have put a huge amount of effort into tackling underage drinking through robust ID schemes, support for local partnership initiatives and effective industry self-regulation of alcohol marketing. We are now seeing the positive impact of these measures,” said John Timothy, chief executive of the trade body Portman Group.