Alcohol and Young People

There can be a difference in the behaviour and side effects seen in teenagers when they drink alcohol because teenager’s brains are still developing which can result in negative effects in the short and long term.

Young people are more vulnerable than adults to some of the effects of alcohol.

Evidence shows that the later teenagers delay their alcohol drinking, the less likely they are to become regular consumers as an adult and avoid alcohol-related problems later in life. Australian longitudinal studies have demonstrated that regular drinking in adolescence is an important risk factor for the development of abusive, dependent1 and risky 2 patterns of alcohol use in young adulthood. 3

This section will discuss:


1Bonomo et al. (2001) Adverse outcomes of alcohol use in adolescents. Addiction. 2001 Oct;96(10):1485-96.

2 Toumbourou JW, Williams IR, White VM et al (2004) Prediction of alcohol related harm from controlled drinking strategies and alcohol consumption
trajectories. Addiction 99: 498–508

3 Hayes. L et al. (2004) Parental influences on adolescent alcohol use. Research Report No. 10, November 2004