Thousands of teenagers are regularly binge drinking, having sex which they later regret and getting involved in drunken violence, a shocking new study has found.
The alarming figures show that teenagers are drinking the equivalent of three pints of beer or nearly a whole bottle of wine each week.
Of the teenagers who drank once a week or more, 20 per cent of girls and 15 per cent of boys said they had had sex after consuming alcohol which they later regretted.
The likelihood of having sex and later wishing they hadn’t was more than double among those teenagers who binge drink.
Around 40 per cent of girls and 42 per cent of boys who drank once a week or more had been involved in violence after drinking alcohol.
The study of 190,000 teenagers in the North West found that the numbers who binge drink ranged from 30 per cent in affluent areas to 40 per cent in poor areas.
The authors of the study, which was conducted by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, recommended that stronger warnings be given to teenagers about the dangers of drinking and called on retailers to prevent them from buying alcohol.
Dominic Harrison, deputy regional director of public health in the North West, said the research confirmed the “almost daily experience” of people who saw the rising problem of young, drunk people across the region.
“The principal cause of the increased risk is lower prices and increased availability, but culture and the increasing social tolerance of drunken behaviour is also a factor,” he said.
Professor Mark Bellis, co-author of the report, said: “These figures highlight the sheer quantity of alcohol being consumed by under-age drinkers across the North West.
“Without a clear message that underage drunkenness will not be tolerated, we will continue to see the high levels of alcohol bingeing and related violence identified in this study.
“All too often such bingeing and violence not only damages children’s lives but also results in whole communities feeling threatened by gangs of drunk teenagers.”