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Violence in young binge drinkers

Published:  23 July, 2008

Young binge drinkers are likely to resort to violence, a new survey says.

The Trading Standards survey shows more than half of regular binge drinkers aged under 18 admit to having been violent when drinking, while 22% have regretted having sex while drunk.

The survey also reveals 44% of schoolchildren aged between 14 and 17, drinks at least once a week; almost a third of them binge drink.

Brenda Fullard, a public health specialist for the Department of Health, said: "It is worrying that nearly a third of young people are drinking large quantities of alcohol, getting in fights, having unplanned sex or getting into cars with drivers who have been drinking. Alcohol consumption is the biggest contributory factor to hospital admissions of children on weekend nights, causing huge burdens on our health service."

The proportion of schoolchildren aged 14-17 years who buys their own alcohol has dropped from 40% to 28% in the past two years. Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, claimed the results showed its two-year enforcement campaign was "beginning to reap rewards".

Tony Allen, who organised the survey of 12,000 schoolchildren in northwest England, said: "Children are telling us that it is much harder to buy alcohol now than it used to be. However, there is much more work to be done - particularly to target the 45% of child drinkers who report never being asked."

Survey results:

44% of 14- 17-year-olds claim to drink at least once a week

29% binge drink weekly

17% never drink alcohol

12% admit being in a car with a young person who had been drinking

55% were refused when trying to buy alcohol

17% say they get adults to buy alcohol for them

5,280 children aged under 16 were admitted to hospital as a result of drinking