At what age did you start drinking?

Research by the SA Depression and Anxiety Group paints a worrying picture of teenage consumption of alcohol and drugs.

The study found that:

  • Grade 11 pupils were 59% more likely than pupils in other grades to have used alcohol. More than half the surveyed boys in that grade admitted to drinking.
  • Almost 14% of boys and 6.8% of girls had consumed alcohol before the age of 13.

Some of the South Africa’s leading researchers blamed alcohol advertising for teenage drinking. They argued that children as young as 12 are already hitting the bottle and they warned that alcohol adverts are driving younger people to drinking.

Africa Melane asked our CapeTalk/702 listeners at what age did they start drinking alcohol and why.

Thabo in Nigel started when he was 17 years old. When he was 15, he would go out with friends who were a bit older than him and when he turned 17 he wanted to step in their shoes and started experimenting with alcohol.

Gideon in observatory started at the age of 16 and he thinks the legal drinking age should be raised to 21.

Brent in Sandton started at the age of 13 and he says it was due to peer pressure. He says parents should educate their children to the dangers of alcohol.


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