Binge drinking among Irish teenagers seems to be 'creeping back up again', according to one GP.
Priority Medical Clinic Medical Director, Dr Garrett McGovern, was speaking as new research found just over one in three teenagers have been binge drinking at least once.
A Planet Youth study found that 34.1% said they had ever been binge drinking.
Of those who had ever been binge drinking, 41.1% of them reported doing it once or twice before, and 22.5% reported three to five previous episodes.
Binge drinking is defined as consumption of five or more drinks in a two-hour period or less.
Just over 4,470 teenagers aged 15 and 16 years participated in the research.
Dr McGovern told Newstalk Breakfast he was surprised at the figures.
"We reached a peak in about 2003 for binge drinking among adolescents," he said.
"We have actually been making slow but steady progress.
Research from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction in 2021 showed Ireland's national average was less than our European counterparts for binge drinking among adolescents.
Dr McGovern noted: "This was slightly surprising... we're going in a reverse direction".
He said we are taking our 'eye off the ball' when it comes to alcohol.
"I don't think we've made inroads into over overall relationship with alcohol," he said.
"The visibility of it is probably still too great. I certainly still see a lot of it in my own practice."
'Reverse moral high ground'
Dr McGovern said alcohol consumption is a bigger problem for society.
"I thought [young people] were enjoying other things," he said.
"It just doesn't seem to be that way; we seem to be probably creeping back up again.
"We can't seem to do anything after twilight hours without alcohol.
"There tends to be a reverse moral high ground: if you go to any event and you say you're not drinking, you're looked at with a quizzical look and... trying to bend your arm to drink.
"We do find it very hard to actually do anything in our free time without alcohol, which is a shame".
Dr McGovern has this advice for parents.
"I think the general rule of thumb is drinking at home in front of your children... is not the greatest idea," he said.
"If you have a permissive attitude towards alcohol, the likelihood is your children will have a permissive attitude towards alcohol," he added.