Teenagers

Alcohol and young people

Shaping policy, reducing harm

While alcohol consumption has potential health and social implications for all sections of the community, alcohol policy in England has increasingly focused on children and young people. LJMU’s high quality alcohol research has helped to stimulate debate around this issue and provide a framework for policy recommendations.

LJMU’s Public Health Institute has undertaken a broad research programme around alcohol and young people. Epidemiological studies have explored associations between adolescent alcohol consumption and risky sexual behaviour, injuries and violence, and the impact of unsupervised alcohol use, drinking in public places and access to cheap alcohol.

Through development of an evidence-based disease incidence model, researchers were able to estimate the national disease burden of alcohol consumption in England (in 2005, 3% of all deaths were attributable to alcohol consumption with young people disproportionally affected) and were also the first in the UK to identify the extent and impact of ‘pre-loading’ (that is, consuming alcohol in private settings prior to visiting pubs and clubs).

LJMU research was cited in the initial 2008 Youth Alcohol Plan and provided the framework for the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) guidance on alcohol consumption by children and young people. As the most senior advisor on health issues to the Government, the CMO guidance was influential in progressing national and local public health policy and has prompted a range of initiatives developed to tackle underage drinking, including awareness raising campaigns and tighter legislation around selling of alcohol to young people.

The work to support us in producing this report has been carried out by Professor Mark Bellis and his team at LJMU. I am deeply grateful to them for their excellent contribution.

Foreword to the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance

In addition to guidance development, LJMU researchers sat on the expert panel established in 2008 by the Department for Children, School and Families to review evidence on the impact of alcohol on children and young people and to develop ideas and information to support parents and young people.

The Department of Health also commissioned the group to undertake research into alcohol-attributable fractions for disease and other health conditions, which culminated in a measure of harm that was subsequently adopted by the Government as a national indicator and incorporated into a number of regional alcohol strategy documents, for example in Cumbria, Wirral, Shropshire and Wigan.

Find out more about the research within the Public Health Institute.

Contact us

For more information about research at LJMU:
Call: 0151 231 8091 | Email: impact@ljmu.ac.uk