Overall, teenage drinking has declined in Finland since the start of the century, but one out of ten young people reports drinking to the point of passing out. Underage girls are heavier drinkers than their male counterparts.
According to a new doctoral dissertation at the University of Tampere, underage girls drink more and binge more than boys of the same age.
“Both in Finland and in the other Nordic countries, drinking, and drinking to get drunk, is more common than among 16 year-old girls among boys at the same age,” says the study’s author, Hanna Samposalo.
Four broadly-based research projects by Samposalo show that only a small percentage of Finnish 12 year-olds have even tasted alcohol. By the age of 16, 40% say that they drink at least once a month.
Samposalo says that the most alarming thing to come to light from her study is the significant risks that some teens are taking.
“Indeed, I was surprised myself by the fact that almost ten percent of these young people said that the last time they drank they had passed out. This figure is from a youth crime survey done in 2008,” Samposalo explains.
On the brighter side, she notes that during the whole of the 2000s, so far, total alcohol consumption by the young has declined and the number of teens who do not drink at all has gone up.
European comparisons show that the highest levels of teen drinking are found in Denmark and the Czech Republic. The most binge drinking is seen in Denmark and the UK.