Girls aged eleven to 15 have caught up with their male peers’ heavy drinking habits, new research shows.
A study for the London Assembly shows that the capital’s youngsters in this age group consume the equivalent of 180,000 bottles of lager every week.
While girls now drink as much as boys, they are almost twice as likely to end up in hospital because of their lower tolerance for alcohol.
And according to the new report, Too much too young?, London’s young people drink less than their counterparts elsewhere in the UK.
London Assembly member James Cleverly said: “We are very concerned by our findings that young Londoners are drinking more and more often than a few years ago.
“Young people’s drinking is having serious repercussions on their health and on public services.”
The study found that between 2005 and 2007, 14 per cent of boys and girls in the eleven to 15 age category admitted to drinking two or more units of alcohol in the past week.
This compared with ten per cent for boys and eight per cent for girls between 1998 and 2004.
The London ambulance service saw a 27 per cent increase in alcohol related calls for those aged below 21 during 2004 and 2008.
Chris Sorek, Chief Executive of charity Drinkaware, said: “Many young people see drinking alcohol as a rite of passage and an ordinary part of growing up, but rather than being ‘cool’, drinking too much can put young Londoners at risk of violence, health harms and unwanted pregnancies.
“The reality is that many young people don’t actually drink – but those that do can increasingly get themselves into tricky situations.”