Among 11-15 year olds, 6 out of 10 young Europeans, 65% of boys and 57% of girls have tasted an alcoholic drink. The initiation is early: one out of 4 Europeans, 28% of boys and 21% of girls, admit to having drunk their first drinks before the age of 11 years. Three alcoholic beverages are the most frequently used, and are the principal route of access to alcohol consumption: beer (37% of young Europeans say that the first alcohol they consume was beer), wine (24%) and champagne (21%).
14% of young Europeans regularly consume alcohol (at least once a week). These are always from the same countries which have highest regular consumption of alcohol. This increases very significantly with age. At 15 years, 31% of boys and 19% of girls are regular consumers of alcohol; they drink alcohol at least once a week. The drink mostly consumed is beer, this prevails whatever the country. Between 18 and 24 years, regular consumption is widespread.
In the literature dealing with alcohol toxicomania, papers concerning alcoholism in minors are quite exceptional. This is due to the fact that adult drinkers do not like to admit that they often used to consume alcohol long before reaching adult age. (In a test survey, of 400 adults, 87% gave a mendacious answer). Another reason is that minors who drink very rarely come under professional anti-alcoholic care because their relatives often adopt a tolerant attitude towards them. Neither does the majority of the anti-alcoholic corps show any special interest in the work with under-age drunkenness, since such work requires not only experience with toxicomaniacs but also knowledge of psychology and psychiatry of children and adolescents.