Child binge drinking study released
Children who are supplied with alcohol by people other than their parents are up to six times more likely to binge drink, a new study has found.
The Australian Drug Foundation released on Monday some of the findings of a Deakin University study that questioned nearly 4000 children aged between 10 and 14 on underage drinking.
Australian Drug Foundation chief executive John Rogerson said only Queensland and Tasmania had laws penalising the irresponsible supply of alcohol to people under 18 without parental consent.
“We believe children in Victoria, South Australia, the ACT, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are at greater risk of alcohol-related harms without this legislation,” Mr Rogerson said in a statement.
Among the study’s key findings were that children who got alcohol from people other than parents are up to six times more likely to binge drink, and adolescents reporting the presence of family conflict were more likely to obtain alcohol from a person other than a parent.
It also found the more friends a child has who drink alcohol, the more likely that child is to obtain alcohol from people other than a parent.
“We know that when young people binge drink, they are more at risk of harms such as sexual assault, injury or even death,” Mr Rogerson said.
“It can also set children up for a lifetime of heavy drinking.”
The Australian Drug Foundation says an effective measure to protect children is a law that puts parents in control of their children’s drinking.
“Medical researchers advise that alcohol can cause irreparable damage to the developing brain and children should be encouraged to delay drinking,” Mr Rogerson said in the statement.
“We need stricter laws to protect our children from the harms associated with drinking alcohol, particularly as adolescence is such a critical time for brain development.”
Deakin University’s school of psychology is due to release a paper detailing the findings in coming months.
Article first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald