'Just the norm' - Teenage girls drinking more than teenage boys

Both genders drink less than their parents did when they were young.
James Wilson
James Wilson

18.24 24 Jan 2024

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'Just the norm' - Teenage girl...

'Just the norm' - Teenage girls drinking more than teenage boys

James Wilson
James Wilson

18.24 24 Jan 2024

Share this article

Teenage girls now drink more than their male peers, a survey by the North Dublin Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force has found. 

Whereas previously, girls were less likely to drink than boys, the research found the figures have since been reversed.

Speaking to The Hard Shoulder, Alcohol Forum Ireland CEO Paula Leonard cautioned that north Dublin might not be representative of the country as a whole.


“There was a similar report in the same timeframe done in Cavan and Monaghan - over 2,000 young people,” she said.

“In that study, there was very little difference in percentage terms between the numbers of young girls and young boys who were reporting drinking.”

Whatever the gender divide, Ms Leonard said studies have shown teenagers are much less likely to enjoy a drink than their parents did at the same age.

“We know that less teenagers are drinking than there would have been previously,” she said.

“We’ve known since 2019 that the figure was coming down.

“What we need to be concerned about… is that among the teenagers who are saying that they’re drinking, they’re drinking significantly more than in the past.”

One study last year found one in every three teenagers who drink would consume enough alcohol to meet the threshold required for intervention - something Ms Leonard described as “very worrying”.

'Nothing in the community for children to do'

Out on the streets of Coolock in north Dublin, Henry McKean was offered various explanations for the study’s results.

“There’s children walking the streets, there’s nothing in the community for children to do,” one woman told him.

Growing up she said she had a “strict mother” but that she did go drinking in a field at the age of 17.

Her daughter recently had a drink under parental supervision.

“We’re only just home from Australia and she tried champagne over, it was a big holiday,” she said.

“So, we let her have a glass of champagne.”

Another woman had her first drink before she turned 18 and the experience has shaped her attitude to alcohol ever since.

“I had my first drink when I was 14 and I never drank after that,” she said.

“I had a bad experience and I never did it again.”

While a teenage girl said the survey’s results did not surprise her.

“I do think girls drink a lot more than boys,” she said.

“At least, I know from my friend’s group that we would drink more.”

She said she did not know why but that it was “just the norm” and her male friend chipped in to say she she drank more than him “by a mile”.

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Main image: A young woman drinking a beer.

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