Under-16s drinking less alcohol
A survey among 35,000 secondary school pupils shows that there are increasing numbers of children who have never drunk alcohol
Brains still developing
The minimum age for buying and consuming beer and wine was lowered from 18 to 16 in 2009, and 58% of those surveyed said one of their motives for not drinking was because it is against the law.
From the age of 16, teenagers’ attitudes towards alcohol change. Seven out of 10 older students drank alcohol in the month before answering the survey, while three in 10 drink every week. “That is worrying, because these young people’s brains are still developing and alcohol has a harmful effect on this process,” said VAD director Marijs Geirnaert.
From 17, youngsters also get drunk more often. Under-16s tend to drink occasionally and are rarely drunk.
The VAD wants to see a new change in legislation, with 18 being the minimum age for all alcohol consumption. Currently, only spirits are banned for under-18s. The VAD believes this would decrease alcohol use among those aged between 16 and 18.