The Department of Health has not contributed to spending on encouraging safer drinking over the past few years, but UK figures indicate that the problem of teenage drinking is escalating.
In a league table published yesterday by the European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs (Espad), the UK was nearly the top of the list for teenage drinking, behind only Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Netherlands.
In the UK, 29% of all girls aged 15 to 16 admitted binge drinking - defined as having more than five drinks in a row - three or more times over the previous month. This compares to 26% of boys.
Only figures from the UK, the Isle of Man and Ireland showed that girls were binge drinking more often than boys.
In response to the Espad survey, Home Office Minister, Caroline Flint has said that tackling alcohol misuse was top priority for the Government.
She said that Government measures include on-the-spot fines for selling alcohol to under 18s, and a Christmas police blitz on selling alcohol to under 18’s, and a Christmas police blitz on underage and binge drinking.
“The Government is determined to protect young people, but also to send a strong message that drugs and alcohol misuse will not be tolerated,” said Flint.