More than one in ten eleven to 16-year-olds have cared for a friend who was sick, injured or unconscious as a result of alcohol in the past year, according to a disturbing new report.
The report, by British Red Cross, was released to coincide with the charity’s new campaign, called Life.Live it, which encourages youngsters to learn first aid skills.
The study, which surveyed 2,500 children, also showed that almost a quarter of youngsters had been drunk, on average three times in the past six months.
And more than one in three 14 to 16-year-olds said they got drunk most weekends, drinking the equivalent of eight alcopops.
Joe Mulligan, first aid expert at the Red Cross, said: “In recent years, the issue of young people drinking to excess has been a regular feature in the media but their vital role in saving lives when they and their friends find themselves in vulnerable situations generally has not been mentioned.
“We need to ensure that every young person – irrespective of whether they’re drinking – has the ability and confidence to cope in a crisis.”
And Chris Sorek, chief executive of charity Drinkaware, cautioned: “These findings reinforce our knowledge that drinking to excess puts young people at risk.
“This risk is heightened if they are drinking unsupervised in the company of peers who don’t feel equipped to deal with alcohol fuelled emergencies.”
Earlier this year a survey of England’s regional drinking habits revealed that children as young as eleven were drinking the equivalent of nearly two bottles of wine a week.
The survey, released by the NHS Information Centre, measured the average alcohol consumption figures for children based on those who had drunk alcohol in the last week.
The survey, conducted between 2006 and 2008, revealed that the North East was the worst performing region in England, with one in four 11 to 15-year-olds drinking.
Children who drank in the North East consumed an average of nearly two bottles of wine a week or eight pints of lager, although the survey also revealed that the region’s young people were the least likely to have taken cannabis.
The average consumption for England was equivalent to five pints of lager per week.