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  More 11-year-olds drinking alcohol weekly
Updated 06 January 2002, 15.25
Young people drinking alcohol
One in four 11-year-old boys and one in six girls have at least one alcoholic drink a week, says a new study.

The study has shocked experts who think parents and the government worry too much about drugs and ignore drinking problems, reports the Observer newspaper.

'Hair-raising'

Fact File
Boys aged 10-11 and alcohol
62 per cent have tried wine
58 per cent have tried beer
35 per cent have tried spirits
30 per cent have tried alcopops

Researchers at the Schools Health Education Unit who studied 13,000 children around the UK, say they found the results 'hair-raising'.

Many of children, especially boys, said they had alcohol for the first time at home or family occasions like weddings, then started drinking quite often.

"Every time Mum and Dad have a glass of wine on Saturday night, they can be giving one to their children. Or if Dad sits down with a beer, it's offered to a young son too", says one expert.

One mother found out her 13-year-old son had been drinking for two years, getting wine from older boys after school. "He said it helped him cope with the constant pressure of school", she said.

But experts say it's up to parents to set a good example with alcohol at home.

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