Look, I don’t want to keep banging this drum. But the media assault is now a constant bombardment.
- The percentage of 11-15 year olds who have ever drunk FELL from 55% in 2006 to 52% in 2008
- The percentage of 11-15 year-olds who have drunk in the last week FELL from 21% in 2006 to 18% in 2008
- The AVERAGE alcohol consumption for 11-15 year olds who have drunk alcohol is between 13 and 16 units – so not higher than safe limits for adults at all then. And as that’s an average of 11-15 year olds who have ever drunk (52%), simple maths tells you that the average for ALL 11-15 year olds must be half that – around 7-8 units.
- Why focus on the North East? Because that’s the region where 11-15 year olds have drunk more than anywhere else. It’s not typical of the country as a whole. 63% of 11-15 year olds have drunk alcohol there, compared with only 39% in London.
- The Telegraph correctly reports that ‘more than one in four’ 11-15 year olds in the North East have drunk in the last week. It doesn’t report that in London, this figure is only 12%. Everywhere else, it’s between the two.
- In terms of average weekly consumption, girls marginally exceed the safe limit for women in five out of nine regions, by an amount that is within the standard margin of error quoted by statisticians. For example, in West Midlands girls drink an average of 14.2 units a week, with a standard range of error of 1.27, meaning they could be as much as 15.9 or as little as 12.5.
- In no area of the country do boys drink an average of more than 21 units – the recommended limit for men. The Telegraph headline is therefore factually inaccurate on yet another count. In the body of the article it states where teenage girls drink too much. It doesn’t mention the figures for teenage boys because they don’t fit with the story the newspaper is fabricating – so let me say once again, IN NO REGION OF THE COUNTRY ARE 11-15 YEAR OLD BOYS DRINKING MORE THAN THE ‘SAFE’ LIMITS FOR ADULT MEN.
The headline “Children drinking more than adult safe levels” clearly suggests that the typical or average child is doing so. The “official data” emphatically shows that this is NOT the case, and also shows – like all other recent data on the subject – that under-age drinking is declining, something the Telegraph does not see fit to mention at all.