Underage alcohol purchases fall, but half of youth drank booze

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No image availableNL Times

The number of underage kids buying alcohol has decreased dramatically in the past few years. Only 1 percent of 14 and 15 year olds bough alcohol for themselves or friends over the past year, compared to 9 percent in 2011. Among 16 and 17 year olds the percentage dropped from 79 percent to only 10 percent.

This is according to a study commissioned by State Secretary Martin van Rijn of Public Health. He sent the results to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on Thursday.

The survey showed that many underage children still drink, despite not buying the alcohol for themselves. More than half of young people between the ages of 14 and 17 years indicated that they drank alcohol this past year. These young people got the alcohol from parents or friends. In 41 percent of the cases, parents were willing to buy alcohol for their teenagers.

The teenagers indicated that the increase in the minimum drinking age to 18 years has made it harder to get hold of alcohol. Clubs, supermarkets and liquor stores are stricter about checking age before selling alcohol.

Van Rijn is very satisfied with the changing alcohol buying habits among young people. And he does not find it surprising that so many teenagers get hold of alcohol through their parents or friends. "It is a confirmation that the social norm change is not yet complete", he wrote to the Kamer.