NEW research has found Australian teens are drinking on average about half as much alcohol as previous generations consumed 10 years ago.
The research by Michael Livingston from the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research analysed seven waves of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
It showed the reduction in drinking across Australia was driven by two major changes; the ageing of heavier drinking people into lighter drinking stages of the life course and a sharp reductions in drinking among young people.
Alcohol use among Australians peaks in middle age, between 40 and 60 years.
As drinkers move into their 60s and 70s, they tend to ease up, a trend that helps to explain the recent decline in drinking.
The main driver of reduced drinking in Australia, however, is the markedly reduced alcohol use among Australians born in the 1990s, suggesting that a significant generational shift is underway.
Dr Livingston said there was an across the board downward trend among young people.
“We’re seeing both a decline in the choice to drink, and amongst those who do choose to drink, a decline in the amount they drink,” he said.
“It seems that young people haven’t shifted to other substances…There’s less drug use, there’s less drinking, there’s less smoking. It’s a broad shift towards more responsible, less risky behaviour,” he said.