Youth drinking cover - Demos

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Youth drinking cover

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Ian Wybron is Head of Public Services and Welfare at Demos.

ISBN 978-1-911-192-03-9 £10 © Demos 2016

Youth drinking in transition | Ian Wybron

Each year national statistics give us reason to be positive about the drinking habits of young adults, with fewer and fewer drinking to excess. Many column inches have been filled in trying to explain this trend. Yet, it is not a victory won for policy makers: 16–24-year-olds are still the age group most likely to be drinking harmfully. This report explores the drinking habits of young adults in Great Britain. It seeks to contribute evidence to explain some of the positive trends – including the decline in binge drinking and rise in teetotalism. However, the report also seeks to understand the outstanding drivers of harmful consumption and how best to tackle them, with particular regard to three key case study groups: students, young adults in employment, and young people who are NEET. As the title suggests, a running theme of the report is transitions – both in national trends, and for young people moving between key life stages. The report argues that setting the right precedents at key life stages is vital to achieving a more responsible drinking culture. Many of the similarities between the drinking habits of young adults in our case study groups are striking – including the power of social norms and expectations, the operation of peer pressure in different forms, the fear of missing out as a reason to drink, as well the social challenges still faced by those who choose not to drink. A commonly held notion among excessive young drinkers is that they will grow out of it as they hit more ‘adult’ life stages. But it is clear that while many do indeed move on, others set dangerous precedents that are much harder to shift. To build on the positive trends and tackle the drivers of harmful drinking, we make a series of recommendations to government departments, universities and students’ unions, employers, schools, local community organisations and others.

“Setting the right precedents is vital to achieving a more responsible drinking culture…” YOUTH DRINKING IN TRANSITION Ian Wybron

Youth drinking cover

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This project was supported by:

Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank. We produce original research, publish innovative thinkers and host thought-provoking events. We have spent over 20 years at the centre of the policy debate, with an overarching mission to bring politics closer to people. Demos has always been interested in power: how it works, and how to distribute it more equally throughout society. We believe in trusting people with decisions about their own lives and solving problems from the bottom-up. We pride ourselves on working together with the people who are the focus of our research. Alongside quantitative research, Demos pioneers new forms of deliberative work, from citizens’ juries and ethnography to ground-breaking social media analysis. Demos is an independent, educational charity, registered in England and Wales (Charity Registration no. 1042046). Find out more at www.demos.co.uk

First published in 2016 © Demos. Some rights reserved Lloyds Wharf, 2-3 Mill Street, London, SE1 2BD, UK ISBN 978 1 911192-03-09 Series design by modernactivity Typeset by Chat Noir Design, Charente Set in Gotham Rounded and Baskerville 10 Cover paper: Flora Gardenia Text paper: Munken Premium White

YOUTH DRINKING IN TRANSITION Ian Wybron

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