Young People’s Alcohol Consumption
Data from the National Drug Strategy Household Survey Report in 2016 found that the average age at which young people aged 14–24 first tried alcohol has steadily risen since 1998 from 14.4 to 16.1 in 2016. 
Rates of alcohol use in the ACT declining
The ACT data obtained in the 2014 Australian School Students Alcohol and Drug Survey showed that :
- Between 2008 and 2014 there has been in an increase in the number of students (aged 12-17 years) in the ACT not drinking alcohol
- The proportion of 12-17 year olds who had ever drunk alcohol peaked in 1999 (90.2%) and has been decreasing since then (in 2014, 72%)
- The amount of young people reporting alcohol consumption in the past month has halved since 1996 from 46% to 22%
- In 1996, 1 in 3 young people in the ACT reported drinking in the previous week, in 2014, this had dropped to 1 in 10
- Number of young people aged 12 -17 drinking at risky levels on single occasions decreased from 10% in 1999 to 5% in 2014
- Since 1996, there has been a statistically significant decrease in single-occasion risky drinking (> 4 alcoholic drinks on at least one day in previous week)
- In 2014, around 1 in 3 of 12-17 year olds reported drinking > 4 alcoholic drinks on at least one occasion in their lifetime
- In 2014, about half (52.3%) of all ACT secondary school students who had ever had an alcoholic drink reported that they never intended to get drunk.
Decrease in risky drinking for those that drank last week
There has been a statistically significant decrease since 1996 in consuming alcohol in the ‘last week’. In 2014, 11.8% of 12-17 years old consumed alcohol last week compared to 29% in 1996.
In 2014, males in the ACT were significantly more likely to partake in single-occasion risky drinking. Older age groups (16-17 year olds) were also more likely to consume alcohol at risky drinking levels – 12% compared to 1.3% for 12-15 year olds.
More than half (56%) of ACT secondary school students have consumed alcohol at a level that put them at risk of injury on a single occasion of drinking.
Almost 1 in 5 consumed alcohol at a level that put them at risk of injury on a single occasion in the last 2 weeks, with boys (21%) more likely to do this than girls (15%).
Approximately 4 in every 10 secondary school students consumed alcohol with the intention of getting drunk. This percentage has remained constant since 2011.
Approximately 1 in 6 ACT secondary school students consumed alcohol with the intention of getting drunk on most or every occasion, with boys (18%) more likely to do this than girls (13%). This percentage has remained constant since 2011. 
Risky drinking amongst students aged 12-17 (>4 standard drinks on an occasion):
Risky drinking amongst female and male students:
- 1 in 2 had consumed > 4 standard drinks on an occasion in the previous year
- 1 in 4 had consumed > 4 standard drinks on an occasion in the previous month
- 1 in 5 had consumed > 4 standard drinks on an occasion in the previous fortnight
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016: detailed findings. Drug Statistics series no. 31. Cat. no. PHE 214. Canberra: AIHW.
- ACT Health: (2016), Healthy Canberra, Australian Capital Territory Chief Health Officer’s Report 2016, ACT Government, Canberra ACT.