South West Gastroenterology Society
Alcohol knowledge and use among pupils at a single Devon school: A web-based pilot study.
W Stableforth1, A Barton2, J Lowes1.
Torbay District Hospital1, Peninsula Medical School2
There is a large body of evidence to show that alcohol related liver disease is on the rise in the UK. In 2007, in England + Wales 4,580 people died in England and Wales from alcoholic liver disease. There has been a 41% increase in the number of deaths from alcoholic liver disease between 1999 and 2005 and in the last 30 years, mortality from alcohol related liver disease has risen over 450% in the UK.
Additionally there appears to have been an increase in binge drinking in Western Europe and the USA and this is particularly the case amongst young people. However, there are undoubtedly anomalies in the data that suggest that our overall perception of a rise in alcohol use by young people may be partially influenced by the media. For instance the report on ‘Smoking, drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2006’ carried out by The National Centre for Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research demonstrated that there appeared to be a decline in the percentage of pupils who have never had a proper alcoholic drink from 55% of pupils in 2006 from 60-65% in 1988-1998. Additionally the percentage of pupils who had drunk alcohol in the last 7 days had declined from 26% in 2001 to 21% in 2006.
This very comprehensive report demonstrated a complex picture with regard to alcohol use. However, overall there is no doubt that there is a relative paucity of data on patterns of drinking and alcohol use amongst young people in the UK. Our study set out to obtain local data starting with a pilot study to assess the feasibility of a voluntary anonymous internet-based survey to assess alcohol use and knowledge among pupils aged 11-18 at a single independent Devon secondary school.
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