In the UK it is illegal to sell or serve alcohol to individuals under 18 years old. Nevertheless, children as young as eleven have admitted trying alcohol at least once, with the main alcoholic beverage of choice being beer/lager/cider for boys and spirits for girls. The general opinion among teenagers is that it is ‘okay to try alcohol’ before reaching the legal age. Despite this, the share of young people consuming alcohol has in general decreased in recent years.
The consequences of alcohol consumption can vary from alcoholic liver disease or pancreatitis to unintentional injuries. Excessive alcohol consumption was the leading reason why individuals referred themselves for help with substance abuse in Wales in 2019. In the UK overall, the alcohol-specific death rate has increased in the past 25 years to 16.1 males per 100,000 and 7.8 females per 100,000 in 2019.