With exam students preparing to celebrate, the results of their binge drinking are taking their toll, writes Brian O'Connell.
This week and next is often seen as party time for both Junior and Leaving Certificate students. It’s a time when some will go on their first overseas holiday without their parents, or are allowed let off as much steam as they like following months of studying.
And, if a recent European School Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (ESPAD) report on teenage behaviour across Europe is correct, Irish teenagers will binge drink more than their European counterparts.
Half of all 15-16 year olds surveyed in Ireland said they had consumed alcohol in the previous 30 days, which is 7 per cent below the European average.
But when asked how much they had drunk on their last drinking day, the survey showed that Irish teenagers drank significantly above the European norm (Irish teenagers consumed 6.7cl of pure alcohol and the EU norm was 5.1cl). Drug use also is significantly down among Irish teenagers surveyed, with 19 per cent of students admitting to illicit drug use in the last 30 days, a drop from 37 per cent in 1995.
Ireland had one of the highest rates of parents (4 per cent) who refused their children permission to participate in the study and answer questions about their alcohol and drug use. This might be indicative of a more general reluctance among Irish society to talk candidly about drug and alcohol behaviour. For example, in how many kitchens and school classrooms will there have been a genuine, honest and open dialogue around alcohol use among adults and teenagers in recent weeks?
Source: Brian O'Connell, Irish Times, 19/06/12