Student survey finds half drank before 15

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OLIVIA KELLY in The Irish Times.

ALMOST THREE-QUARTERS of third-level students were sold alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences when they were under age, according to a nationwide survey.

Just under 90 per cent of students said they had drunk alcohol when they were under age, and 74 per cent said they bought it themselves in supermarkets and off-licences.

The survey of 1,450 students by marketing firm Student Marketing Network found that almost 50 per cent of third-level students reported having a one-night stand while drunk, and one in five admitted to having sex when drunk which they did not later remember.

More than one-third of students admitted to having unprotected sex while drunk, and more than 60 per cent said they were more likely to engage in sexual activity with a stranger when drunk.

Half of the students said they had taken their first drink before the age of of 15, and 55 per cent said they were “drunk” before the age of 16.

Large numbers experienced ill-health through binge drinking, with half admitting to vomiting more than six times due to overindulging in alcohol.

More than one-third said they were injured or hospitalised due to alcohol-related injuries.

The survey, carried out over the last seven days, found that students saw no significant link between alcohol consumption and advertising.

Just over two-thirds said advertising did not influence their choice of drink.