Alcohol and the young


Report of a joint working party of the Royal College of Physicians and the British Paediatric Association

This report (published in 1995) brings together data on the impact of alcohol on the young. Although an accepted and pleasurable part of social life, alcohol in excess can kill and, as has been well documented, can affect an individual even before birth. It is responsible for significant ill health and unhappiness, destroying careers and wrecking family life. Heavy alcohol consumption sometimes begins in adolescence. It is therefore important to educate young people about alcohol so that they can take informed decisions, and to protect young children from its harmful effects.

The report outlines the extent of alcohol-related harm among the young. It has sections on problem-drinking parents, describing the effects that drinking in pregnancy can have on the foetus, and the consequences to the development and wellbeing of children when one or both parents drink heavily. Drinking patterns among young people themselves are explored and evidence is presented on the extent of problem drinking in children and young people and its association with violence, accidents and drug taking.

Copies available on request.


  • Summary
  • Recommendations
  • Problem drinking by parents
  • Assessment and management of children of problem-drinking parents
  • Patterns of drinking behaviour in the young: prevalence, influences and impact
  • Assessment and treatment of alcohol problems in the young
  • Prevention
  • Implications for training and education of professionals
  • Research and development