Boredom has been identified as a major contributor to underage drinking in the Busselton region, according to a new report released this week.
The results of an underage usage survey, facilitated by Southern Rip on behalf of the City of Busselton, revealed 53 per cent of the 730 students aged between 13 and 18 were drinking alcohol.
Approximately a third of the students at the City’s five high schools participated in the survey, which found the peak age to drink alcohol was 15 years or older while most drinking occurred on weekends or on special occasions.
Forty-eight per cent of the drinkers reported consuming one to two alcoholic drinks at any one time, with 24 per cent drinking two to four alcoholic drinks and the remaining 28 per cent consuming four to six drinks.
Ninety “at risk” youth who use outreach services also participated in the survey with the majority reporting they consume alcohol on a daily basis.
Alcohol consumption occurred mainly in homes or at private parties and was often supplied by an older friend.
The students drank beer, pre-mix drinks and spirits while the “at risk” group consumed a higher level of spirits.
The “at risk” youth indicated they drank alcohol primarily due to boredom and a need to feel better.
The students said their top reasons for drinking alcohol were to have fun and to combat boredom due to lack of facilities and activities for youth.
Other reasons included submission to subtle peer pressure, a natural desire to experiment and the influence of Australian culture, which constantly exposed youth to alcohol consumption.
A key area of concern identified by the students was adults who supplied alcohol to minors and allowed underage drinking in private homes.
The study also raised a need for youth to gain a better understanding of the legal and health implications of underage alcohol usage and the ability to access “save a mate” first aid training.
The survey was formulated by students as part of the Southern Rip Youth Voice Program.