NEW DELHI: A survey to assess the prevalence of underage drinking, alcohol consumption, and procurement patterns among youth has found that 88.8 per cent youth start drinking before the legal drinking age and procure alcohol without any age check.
It also found that young people consume alcohol to get inebriated and end up consuming five drinks or more, with 87.3 per cent of the 10,000 respondents confessing to binge drinking.
The public survey was conducted between September 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018 outside 50 prominent liquor shops, bars, restaurants, etc. in Delhi by Community Against Drunken Driving (CADD).
All the 10,000 respondents were below the age of 25 years, the legal drinking age, and 2,310 respondents were below the age of 18 years.
While 98.1 per cent of the respondents were aware that the legal drinking age was 25 years in Delhi, 88.8 per cent of the youth still consumed alcohol before turning 25.
Highlighting the ease with which youth purchase and consume alcohol without any check, Prince Singhal, activist, road safety expert and founder of CADD, said, “As a community we have a casual approach towards alcohol consumption among youth. With changing trends in society, we are pushing our young people towards alcoholism. There is no check carried out at points of sale or consumption to assess the age of the buyers, and penalties and punishments for underage consumption of alcohol are absent.”
The survey also revealed that while 66.7 per cent of the respondents obtained their alcohol from bars, pubs, liquor shops, and restaurants, etc, 19. 9 per cent of youth obtained it from family members, friends, or older siblings.
Many procured it from their own home without anyone’s knowledge.Moreover, 90.1 per cent of the respondents believe that any form of check or regulation would help to curb underage drinking. The respondents also felt that in the absence of penalties or punishments for selling or serving to those less than 25 years of age, it was highly unlikely that people would desist from selling to underage buyers or underage consumers would restrain themselves from buying .
“Whether it is laws, penalties, enforcement or an awareness mechanism, there are several missing links when it comes to addressing the underage drinking crisis, as our administration is unaware or unwilling to address this social menace,” Singhal said.