OVER a million teenagers spend a total of 144 hours in leisure activities that involve drinking alcohol over the course of the summer – the equivalent of around 11 hours a week over a three-month period, shock statistics show.
On average, two in three teenagers between 14 and 18 either drink or take drugs of some description, with over a third having consumed alcohol at least once in the last month.
Just six years ago, the latter figure was much lower – around a quarter had had a drink in the month prior to being interviewed.
The average age at which Spanish youngsters first hit the bottle is 13 years and eight months, and by the time they are 14-and-a-half, they will probably have taken part in their first ‘bring-your-own-bottle’ street gathering, known as a botellón.
And fewer than half of those aged 13 to 18 believed it was potentially harmful to health to consume five or six glasses of wine, spirits or mixers in one weekend at their age.
These figures were produced by the Help against Drug Addiction Foundation (FAD) following research as part of its campaign to persuade teenagers to avoid the bottle this summer.
Its head, Ignacio Calderón, said the upward trend in alcohol consumption among under-18s was becoming very worrying, and even more so those who took a cocktail of drugs with it – a potentially fatal mixture.
FAD is attempting to show kids other ways of enjoying the summer with activities that give them a real kick, a sense of risk-taking and a confidence boost – such as learning to surf.
The TV advert run by FAD shows a real-life case of a youth named Pablo who starts to learn wind-surfing as a complete beginner at the start of the summer and is fairly confident at ‘treading the boards’ by the time the new school year commences.