Youth alcohol use plummets

According to research into alcohol usage amongst teenagers aged between 11 and 16 years of age in The Netherlands, there appears to have occurred a "spectacular" shift over the last ten years, with the binge drinking trend seemingly remaining in the past, Het Parool reports. 

Around the time of the millennium, Dutch teenagers were still described as the biggest boozers of Europe. According to research, however, this trend seems to have shifted.

In 2003, 70 percent of primary school pre-teens around the age of 11 had already had their first drink. Ten years later, this percentage has dropped to 17. Less than half of children around 14 years of age have had an alcoholic beverage these days.

According to youth researcher Wilma Vollebergh of the University of Utrecht, it is down to stricter parenting in many families. There is more understanding of the dangers of alcohol and tobacco use for growing children.

Smoking, of tobacco and marijuana, is also dropping amongst teenagers. According to the research, there isn't a single child under the age of 14 who smokes a daily cigarette anymore.

According to State Secretary for Health Martin van Rijn (PvdA), there is still work to do. The current NIX18 campaign hopes to tackle those groups still behind in the positive trend "such as youths with a preparatory middle-level vocational education (VMBO), disadvantaged youths and 16-year-olds."

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