Derry parents are being called on to take part in a new study aimed at identifying some of the causes contributing to the problem of underage drinking in the city.

The survey is taking place as research figures show approximately 68% of 12-17 year olds in Derry have tried alcohol and many under-18s drink alcohol, either with the permission of their parents or by obtaining alcohol from friends, relatives or by asking other adults to purchase it on their behalf.

The study, being carried out by Derry-based Drink Think Project with support from Parenting NI, will focus on the role parents have in influencing children’s habits.

In 2011, the Drink Think Project undertook a study into the use of alcohol by young people which identified that some young people began drinking as young as 11-years-old, and over half (52%) of the young people who consumed alcohol did so at least once a week.

There was also evidence of excessive alcohol consumption across all age ranges.

The Drink Think Project has commissioned Parenting NI to undertake the latest study of parental influences on young people’s drinking in the Derry area.

Parents of 12-17 year olds living in the cityside, Waterside and rural areas of Derry are being urged to take part in a short anonymous online survey which can be found at http://drinkthink.questionpro.com

The closing date for responses is Sunday, 31 May next.

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane is calling on local parents to support the survey.

She said underage drinking had become a “major problem” and one which har a direct impact on anti-social behaviour and mental health issues among young people.

She added: “There is alarming evidence that very young children are now drinking regularly and we must take urgent action as a community to address this issue.

“Parents play a primary role in influencing children and setting an example and I would encourage all local parents to contribute to this study so this research can inform new approaches to the problem.”

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