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Page last updated at 17:49 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Attitudes to alcohol questioned

by Philippa
School Reporter, The Vyne School, Basingstoke

Why do teenagers get so much stick for drinking alcohol? We asked Year 9 students (13-14), at The Vyne School, to complete a questionnaire about how much they drink.

In the UK, there is a minimum age - 18 - that you can buy alcohol, but the minimum age of when you can drink alcohol is five. So it must be perfectly fine to drink when you're over five then?

Teenage drinking is not decreasing
Teenage drinking is not decreasing

In our questionnaire we asked: "Are you aware of the effects alcohol can have on you?"

Eighteen per cent claimed: "I don't care" about the effects," while 44% of people said: "Yes, I am aware, but I drink anyway." But because all these people are over five, how can they really be in the wrong?

Another question we asked was: "Why do you drink?"

Thirty per cent say they don't drink, 5% considered themselves to be "addicted" to drink and 15% of the participants drank for "popularity".

Many teenagers obviously think that is it "cool" to drink just so that they can get in with "The Popular Crowd".

In Europe, Britain has the third highest underage drinking rate. Is this because we are so strict on the legal age to buy alcohol?

In other European countries, lower age restrictions to purchase alcohol apply. For example, Germany's legal drinking age is 16 whereas in countries like Portugal and Poland, there is no minimum age to when you can start drinking.

How do we tackle drinking here in the UK? Well, all that seems to happen is that another law comes in here and another law comes in there but that clearly isn't having an effect.

It seems, that the more laws come in to action, the more drinking grows in appeal.

Perhaps, if we had no minimum drinking age (as do Poland) then maybe the novelty will wear off, seeing as they are no longer breaking the law.

If you want help with your alcohol problems you can call Alcoholics Anonymous on 0845 769 7555


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