Alcohol & Young People

There can be a difference in the behaviour and side effects seen in young people when they drink alcohol because their 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 young people 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 dependent [1] and risky patterns of alcohol use in young adulthood. [2,3]


In this section:

Young People’s Alcohol Consumption

Young People’s Beliefs and Concerns

When Young People Drink Alcohol

Health Effects of Alcohol on Young People

[1] Bonomo, Y., Coffey, C., Wolfe, R., Lynskey, M., Bowes, G. & Patton, G. (2001). Adverse outcomes of alcohol use in adolescents. Addiction. 96(10):1485-96.

[2] Toumbourou, J.W., Williams, I.R., White, V.M., Snow, P.C., Munro, G.D. & Schofield, P.E. (2004). Prediction of alcohol related harm from controlled drinking strategies and alcohol consumption trajectories. Addiction. 99(4):498–508

[3] Hayes, L., Smart, D., Toumbourou, J. & Sanson, A. (2004) Parental influences on adolescent alcohol use. Research Report No. 10, November 2004.