Binge drinking and young people in focus

Issue date: 06 February 2006

Professor Martin Plant An international conference, Young People & Alcohol, has been arranged jointly by the University of the West of England and the Alcohol & Health Research Trust (ARHT), a charity. The conference will take place at the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol on Friday 17 November 2006. It is the fourth such collaboration between UWE and the AHRT aiming to bring together key practitioners to review strategies to deal with the problems associated with legal or illicit drugs.

Martin Plant, Professor of Addiction Studies at UWE said, “This meeting will interest anybody with a professional or personal interest in alcohol, its use and its associated problems. The latter include doctors, nurses, clinical psychologists, alcohol counsellors, the police, lawyers, social scientists and policy-makers. Expert speakers include Professor Roy Light from UWE who will give an update on the new liberalised licensing laws.

Martin Plant has also noted, “Levels of alcohol consumption among young people in the United Kingdom have been rising steadily for more than a decade. UK teenagers are more likely to drink heavily and to experience adverse effects from this than teenagers in many other countries. Big social changes have transformed traditional drinking patterns amongst young women. 'Binge drinking' amongst teenage girls in the UK has even overtaken that amongst boys. Rates of alcohol-related deaths are increasing in the UK. These include deaths from alcohol-related liver disease even among young adults. There are even cases of such liver disease among teenagers. Rates of alcohol-related psychiatric morbidity among teenage girls have increased and many young people are involved in crime and disorder.

“Much of the latter occurs around concentrations of town and city centre pubs and clubs, many of which have licences to open late at night. This behaviour causes major problems for the public, the police and for medical services. The UK is not alone in confronting such problems. These are also evident in several other countries.”

This meeting will bring together leading authorities on alcohol consumption, its consequences and its problems among young people. They will review current issues involving national and international trends in consumption and problems among young people, 'binge' drinking, gender differences, drinking habits among young people in the Netherlands, drinking amongst Irish students, and the effects of drinking during pregnancy.

These issues will be related to the role of the family, the growth of the 'night-time economy,' economic factors, and to liquor licensing policy. Finally, Professor Ralph Hingson from the USA will provide an overview of the US experience of effective ways of reducing alcohol problems amongst young people.

Conference information from Jan Green Telephone: 0117 328 8800; Fax: 0117 328 8900; E-mail:


Editors notes:

The Alcohol & Health Research Trust (A&HRT)

The A&HRT was established to carry out research into beverage alcohol, together with other social and health issues. The latter include tobacco, illicit and prescribed drugs, HIV/AIDS, risk taking and sexual behaviour; to publish and disseminate information for the benefit of researchers, clinicians, professionals, students, and others concerned with the above themes; to work in co-operation with researchers, students and professionals concerned with alcohol or other social or health issues, to assist researchers, students and others in the conduct of their work related to alcohol or other social or health issues. Members of the research team have produced over 300 scientific publications, including over 20 books. The A&HRT is a registered charity (SC027580).

Speakers and Chair People

Dr Douglas Cameron, Department of Psychiatry, University of Leicester.
Professor Christine Godfrey, Department of Health Sciences & Clinical Evaluation,
Professor Ralph Hingson, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, USA.
Professor Ray Hodgson, Alcohol Education & Research Council, London.
Dr Robert Hollands, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Dr Ann Hope, Department of Health and Children, Dublin, Ireland.
Professor Roy Light, Faculty of Law, University of the West of England, Bristol.
Dr Anne Lingford-Hughes, Psychopharmacology Unit, University of Bristol.
Professor Martin Plant, Alcohol & Health Research Trust, Centre for Public Health Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.
Professor Moira Plant, Alcohol & Health Research Trust, Centre for Public Health Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.
Dr Bruce Ritson, Edinburgh.
Ms Lorna Templeton, Mental Health Research Unit, University of Bath
Dr Regina van den Eijnden, Addiction Research Institute (IVO), Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

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