Initiatives to address teen alcohol abuse are making a real and tangible impact for young Australians.

Australian teenagers are drinking less alcohol now than they have at any time since surveying began in the early 1980s.

The number of 12-17-year-olds who reported never drinking alcohol increased to more than one third (34%) in 2017, up from only one in ten in 1999. Over the same period, the proportion of 16-17 year olds drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion in the past week dropped from 25% to 11%.

There is increasing evidence that these trends are holding as this cohort of teenagers moves into young adulthood, with the proportion of people aged 18–24 drinking at risky levels declining significantly from 31% in 2010 to 18.5% in 2016.

During the recent 2019 schoolies’ weeks, Red Frogs Founder and CEO Andy Gourley reported:

As far as alcohol health is concerned, this is one of the best schoolies’ weeks we’ve done. A lot of schoolies are not binge drinking as much, and a higher proportion are drinking more responsibly. It’s been five years in a row now that we’ve seen this trend. Education has been critical to changing the culture and behaviour.

Andy Gourley, CEO, Red Frogs, November 2019

There is much more still to be done if these trends are to continue to improve. Gourley reports that despite increasing use of drugs, 80-90 percent of incidents that his teams respond to during schoolies’ weeks are alcohol related.

With additional resources, there is an immediate opportunity to increase training programs, education and support in:

  • Expanding Party Safe Programs into more high schools at a younger age, to reach students in years 9 and 10, when some of the critical decisions are being made.
  • Sending teams into high school after parties, to change the culture and the behaviour before school leavers get to schoolies.
  • Building a sober rep program to put volunteers on university campuses to reduce assault after parties.

These initiatives could be achieved with funding to resource two key full-time positions to coordinate training programs in high schools and universities.

Teen Rescue Foundation is committed to resourcing organisations such as Red Frogs to continue to turn around the culture of underage drinking in Australia. We invite you to partner with us to continue this vital support as we launch the Teen Rescue Foundation Auction 2020.