Brits are one of biggest European drinker
YOUNGSTERS in Britain are out-drinking their counterparts across the world, a new study has revealed.
Young people in the UK are more likely to have been drunk by the age of 13 than those in almost any other country, a survey for the charity Alcohol Concern found.
Those aged 15 to 16 are more likely to have been drunk at least once in the last month, while young people agree that "drinking to get drunk" is the defining feature of their relationship with alcohol.
Only Estonia and Malta recorded higher figures.
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In the first 10 months of the year, the Gloucestershire Young People's Substance Misuse Service gave specialist treatment to 21 people under the age of 18 who declared alcohol as a primary substance of misuse.
Another 28 children declared alcohol as a secondary substance of misuse, behind a drug.
The study, to mark Alcohol Awareness Week, reported that youngsters often thought it "cheaper to buy a three-litre bottle of cider than buy a ticket to go to the cinema".
Gloucestershire police said it regularly ran test purchase operations to help prevent sales of booze under 18s.
One in Cheltenham in June saw 17 of the 18 stores tested pass, and officers worked with the business that failed to prevent future breaches.
A spokesman for the constabulary said: "As well as the support of licensees, we also need the help of parents and other adults as research shows that in some cases of underage drinking adults have bought the drink for young people.
"In many of these cases, the adult has not realised that it is against the law to do this."
A spokesman for Gloucestershire's Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: "Our emergency departments see the result of misuse of alcohol every day, especially in the run up to Christmas.
"This puts additional pressure on these frontline services whose main role is vital in dealing with people who have life threatening injuries and illnesses.
"By drinking responsibly, knowing your own limits, and exercising self control you will be helping yourself."