Schoolboy drinking on the rise

A third of all Greek schoolboys aged 11-15 have got drunk at least once in their lives while alcohol abuse among young teenagers has risen over the past five years, according to figures made public yesterday. A survey by the University Research Institute for Mental Hygiene (EPIPSY) found that nearly half of all boys in the same age group – 42.8 percent – had consumed excessive quantities of alcohol at least once in their life, while the respective statistics for schoolgirls were considerably lower, at 29.9 percent. «Excessive quantities» of alcohol were defined as more than five drinks. The survey of 3,884 schoolchildren aged 11-15 also established that the average age at which young Greeks have their first drinking bout is 12 for boys and 13 for girls, while the first experience of drunkenness came one year later. Some 33 percent of all schoolboys said they had got drunk at least once in their life, up from 25 percent in an EPIPSY survey carried out in 1998. However, only 3.2 percent of the male respondents said they had experienced the debilitating effects of alcohol over four times in their life. Some 2.7 percent said they drank alcohol on a daily basis, while 6.6 percent had a drink at least twice a week. Alcoholic consumption on a weekly basis was found to be in decline. According to the most recent figures available, based on research carried out in 2001 by the Athens University School of Medicine, an average 20 percent of the adult population aged between 20-63 downs more than three glasses of alcohol on a daily basis. Women were found to drink less than men, while alcohol consumption was highest among people living alone.