45% of Indian teens in metropolitan cities consume excessive alcohol

New Delhi, Oct 21, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) Alcohol consumption among teenagers in the age group of 15-19 years has increased due to absent parents, easy money, and rising stress and depression, a study says.

The study, by the social development foundation of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), says that 45 percent of intermediate students in metropolitan cities consume alcohol excessively, at least five to six times a month.

The study surveyed over 2,000 teenagers in cities like Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Patna, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh and Dehradun. It revealed that liquor consumption was most prevalent in Delhi-National Capital Region and Mumbai followed by Chandigarh and Hyderabad.

Most of the surveyed adolescents said they took to drinking out of peer pressure. Others said they resorted to alcohol as they felt it distracted them from their day-to-day problems.

Over 32 percent of teenagers admitted to drinking when they were upset, and 18 percent said they drank when alone.

About 15 percent said they drank when they were bored, while 45 percent consumed alcohol to ‘get high’.

According to the survey, youngsters spend Rs.3,500-4,500 on alcohol every year.

The study says that 70 percent of teens consume alcohol at birthday parties, farewells and other such occasions.

‘More young Indians are resorting to alcohol these days due to the growing liberated society, easy spending power and wide availability of brands,’ said D.S. Rawat, secretary general of Assocham.

Higher alcohol intake has increased risks of high-risk sexual behaviour, tuberculosis, cancer, liver diseases and duodenal ulcer among teenagers.

Teenagers also run the risk of alcohol dependency, moving on to more dangerous drugs and causing significant harm to themselves and others, the study reveals.

It says that the consumption can be controlled by introducing on-the-spot fines for selling alcohol to teenagers.

Parents can prevent their children from using alcohol by communicating with them frequently and being more attentive to their children’s well-being, it added.

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