Summary of Youth and young adults

Levels of alcohol consumption amongst Swedish teenagers and young adults are worrying. Alcohol is currently the biggest mortality and injury risk factor amongst young people aged between 16 and 24. Young people aged between 18 and 24 currently account for 35 per cent of all alcohol-related DUI deaths, even though this group accounts for only 7 per cent of drivers. Extensive international research shows that young people who drink alcohol also run a greater risk of suffering accidental injuries (e.g. falls, drowning and alcohol poisoning), violence (e.g. murder, suicide and child abuse), and that their academic performance and productivity declines. Studies have also shown that binge drinking at a young age increases the risk of risky alcohol consumption in adult years, while a Swedish study has shown that the development of premature dementia is also linked to youth drinking. Preventative measures have been shown to be particularly effective in reducing young people’s alcohol consumption and the harm that ensues. Young people’s alcohol consumption is affected by a number of different factors, such as adults’ alcohol habits, the price of alcohol, bars’ opening hours, advertising, and age restrictions on the purchase of alcohol. In this article, researchers have compiled suggestions for effective preventative measures aimed at young people aged between 15 and 25. The researchers propose that, in order to reduce youth drinking and the ensuing harm, that Sweden raises the price of alcohol and reduces young people’s access to alcohol, and that the Government could be active in protecting its sovereignty in restricting alcohol marketing. All of the measures proposed by the researchers are supported by international research and are proven to be effective in reducing alcohol-related harm in young people.