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Decline in school-age drinking

28/07/2009 Joanna
Secondary school staff may be interested to hear that fewer children aged 11 to 15 drink alcohol compared to last year, according to new research.

NHS statistics on young people and drink have now been published and show that over half of those of secondary school-age have never consumed alcohol.

The figures show a drop of nine per cent in numbers of teen-drinkers since 2001.

However of those who continue to drink there was a rise in the number of units consumed, a trend which children's minister Dawn Primarolo described as "disappointing".

The NHS research coincides with the publication of responses to a government consultation on how best to help young people make informed decisions about alcohol.

Responses to the consultation support guidelines suggested by the chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson.

Sir Liam advises that alcohol should not be consumed by those under 15 and those aged between 15 and 17 should be closely supervised by a parent.

According to the NHS' findings, cannabis use has also fallen by four per cent in the last eight years while the numbers of smokers in the same age group has halved since 2001.

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