Understanding alcohol use and subsequent harms in young people: An evidence summary

28 Feb 2020

A large number of factors affect youth drinking and subsequent alcohol-related harms; this evidence review aimed to improve understanding about three specific focus areas: age of first drink, patterns and trajectories of drinking, and parental supply of alcohol. Literature reviews looked at the link between each of the focus areas and alcohol-related harms in adolescence and adulthood. This review suggests that age of first drink and parental supply have a role to play in young people’s drinking and subsequent harms. The review also highlights the importance of broader individual, parental, and community level factors in influencing youth drinking patterns.

This evidence review confirms that understanding early drinking behaviour is important, with young people’s patterns of drinking continuing into adulthood. This demonstrates that targeting youth drinking can have implications not only for adolescents’ development in the short-term, but also long-term health and wellbeing.