Young white males in the Western Cape are the heaviest drinkers among adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 years, with hazardous drinking behaviour being particularly high over weekends.
This is according to the Medical Research Council's (MRC) latest demographic and health survey. This study was done in 2004 by the Department of Health (DoH) and the MRC, but the processed results have only now been released for the first time.
According to the report the highest proportion of drinkers were young white males (45 percent) and the lowest proportion being found among African females (5 percent).
According to Professor Charles Parry, a member of the MRC's drug and alcohol unit, the drinking behaviour in the Western Cape can be ascribed to economical factors, the three large universities in the region with its associated culture, as well as urbanisation and historical baggage such as the tot system of labourers.
"Alcohol is a more accepted than other substances and drugs," he told Die Burger.
Parry said that drug abuse has increased, "but it doesn't necessarily mean that alcohol abuse has decreased."
According to the report, Alcohol misuse by adolescents has been linked to several negative consequences including absenteeism from school, school failure, road-related injuries and sexual risk behaviour including teenage pregnancy. – (Alicetine October, Die Burger, August 2008)