Prevalence and key trends
• Less than a third of 13 year old pupils (28%) and two-thirds of 15 year olds (66%) have ever had an alcoholic drink.
• Only a small proportion had drunk alcohol in the 7 days prior to completing the survey: 4% of 13 year olds and 17% of 15 year olds.
• After a large decrease in prevalence between 2010 and 2013, drinking in the last week has remained unchanged between 2013 and 2015, with the exception of a small decrease among 15 year olds boys.
• Less than half of 13 year olds (45%) and around two-thirds of 15 year olds (68%) who had ever had alcohol, had been drunk at least once.
• The average age that 15 year olds first had a drink was 13 years and 2 months.
• The most common drinking location among 13 year olds was at their own home and among 15 year olds was at a party with friends.
• Among 13 year olds, less than half (45%) of those who had ever had a drink had experienced one (or more) negative effect as a result of drinking alcohol in the last year, compared with over half of 15 year olds (59%).
• Among both age groups, the most common negative consequence was doing something they regretted or vomiting.
Source and availability
• Among both age groups, pupils were most likely to get alcohol from their home, a friend, or a relative. Direct purchase of alcohol from a business was rare.
• The majority of pupils, who have ever had a drink, have never tried to purchase alcohol from either a ‘shop, supermarket or off-licence’, or a ‘pub, bar or club’.
• Just over a third of 13 year olds (35%) and just over half of 15 year olds (52%) who have ever had a drink, had asked someone else to buy them alcohol in the last 4 weeks.
Attitudes to alcohol use
• Less than half of 13 year olds (40%) thought that it was ‘ok’ for someone their age to try drinking alcohol, while nearly three-quarters of 15 year olds (73%) thought it was ‘ok’. There has been no change between 2013 and 2015 among 13 year olds, and a small decrease among 15 year olds.
• Less than one in ten 13 year olds (9%) thought that it was ‘ok’ for someone their age to try getting drunk, whereas 38% of 15 year olds thought that it was ‘ok’. There has been no change between 2013 and 2015.