Teenage Alcohol Abuse


Alcohol is widely used by young people. ‘Binge drinking’, drink driving and unsafe sex can all result from the misuse of alcohol.

Alcohol is tolerated as a socially acceptable drug, yet it is responsible for most drug-related deaths in the teenage population.  It’s difficult to prevent teenagers from experimenting with alcohol, but parents can encourage sensible drinking habits.

Parents believe alcohol is less dangerous than other drugs

Adolescence is typically a time of experimentation. This reflects Australia’s tolerant approach to alcohol use. Alcohol is one of the most commonly used drugs in Australia. Estimates suggest that around half of the population over the age of 14 years drinks alcohol at least weekly.

Alcohol – the risks

Irresponsible use of alcohol can lead to:

  • ‘Binge drinking’ or drinking too much on a single occasion
  • Drink driving
  • Unsafe sex
  • Impaired brain development
  • Injury or death

Binge drinking

‘Binge drinking’ is the term commonly used to describe drinking heavily over a short period of time with the intention of becoming intoxicated. This can be very harmful to a person’s health and well being. As well as increasing the risk of health problems, this can lead young people to take risks and put themselves in dangerous situations.

Common effects of ‘binge’ episodes include:

  • Hangovers
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shakiness

‘Binge drinking’ means different things to different people. 

Drinking too much ‘on a single occasion of drinking’ means drinking significantly more than the recommended level of four standard drinks on any one occasion. Just over 10 per cent of Australian teenagers drink more than this every week.

Parents can’t prevent their teenagers from experimenting with alcohol, but they encourage sensible drinking habits.

Things to remember

  • Around 90 per cent of Australian teenagers over the age of 14 years have tried alcohol at least once.
  • Alcohol is responsible for most drug-related deaths in the teenage population.
  • Parents can’t prevent their teenager from experimenting with alcohol, but they can encourage sensible drinking habits

'Murdoch Children's Research revealed: ' Generations of young Australians are drinking themselves into oblivion.  With more than a quarter of 15 year olds binging until they black out, the point at which brain damage is likely to occur'.