About half of Irish adolescents use illegal drugs and binge drink regularly, new research has suggested.
A survey of hundreds of teenagers aged between 15 and 19 years old from the south and south east found more than 50% frequently drank heavily with a similar number regularly using drugs.
The findings are to be disclosed at an international conference on alcohol and drug use by young people today in UCD.
“The research was conducted on a sample of 462 15-19 year olds living in the South and South East regions and found that 51 per cent binge drank regularly which is defined as five or more drinks on one occasion once a month or more,” a conference spokesman said.
“Nineteen per cent said they binge drink weekly, while 4 per cent said they binge drink several times a week.”
About 86 per cent of those surveyed said they drank alcohol and the findings showed there was no significant difference between boys and girls in how much they took or at what age they first began drinking.
The average age was just 13 and a half.