More than a third of WA students aged 12 to 15 are consuming alcohol regularly, with those drinking weekly averaging more than six standard drinks, figures show.
While the number of teenagers who drink has dropped in recent years, WA results from the 2011 Australian School Student Alcohol and Drug Survey show students aged 12 to 15 who reported drinking in the previous week were consuming more, averaging 6.2 drinks compared with 4.7 drinks in 2008.
Overall, one in eight 12 to 15-year-olds drank in the previous week and another 21.7 per cent reported drinking in the previous month.
Boys drank more than girls in older ages but girls aged 12 to 13 drank more than boys their age, averaging more than five drinks a week.
The figures from a survey of 3771 students from Years 7 to 12 at 45 government, Catholic and independent schools, show high rates of risky behaviour such as drug-taking, violence and driving by the 12 to 15-year-olds who drank weekly.
A third of boys had vomited from drinking and almost one-fifth said they had hit someone or had a fight because of their drinking.
McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Young People director Mike Daube said while there was a positive trend of fewer young teenagers drinking, a quarter of those who drank in the past week did so at levels considered risky even for adults. The upward risky drinking trend was more pronounced in those aged 12 to 15 than those aged 16 to 17, a major concern.
"It is important to credit the many young people who choose not to drink or to drink sensibly but trends in 12 to 15-year-olds are enormously worrying," he said.
"These are children who shouldn't even be touching alcohol and they are drinking to the extent that they vomit."
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