A REGIONAL breakdown of the TellUs3 survey, obtained by national charity Alcohol Concern, shows that children and young people in the South West report rates of drunkenness above the national average.

Nearly 11% of young people aged between eight and 16 said that they had been drunk twice or more in the past four weeks, the national average being 10%.

A total of 6.2% had been drunk three or more times in the past month.

The survey, conducted by schools inspector Ofsted, also revealed that less than a fifth of young people in the region had never had an alcoholic drink.

The charity is calling for further action on alcohol pricing, marketing and on support for parents, after research pointed to the central role parents can play in tackling young people’s drinking.

Earlier this year, a comprehensive survey of 15 and 16 year olds showed the effect of their parents’ attitudes on their drinking behaviour.

It found that 80% of pupils who felt their parents would disapprove of their drinking had never drunk alcohol, compared to 24% of those who thought their parents approved within limits and 16% of those whose parents let them drink as much as they liked.

A poll carried out by YouGov for Alcohol Concern pointed to some of the likely reasons for young people’s drinking, with 68% of people living in the South West believing that cheap alcohol means that young people are more likely to drink and 82% believing that some alcohol products are marketed to appeal to underage drinkers.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Don Shenker said: "Sadly, children and teens in the South West are getting drunk far more often than the national average.

“However, the good news is that parents’ attitudes to their children’s drinking can indeed make a difference to their behaviour.

"Setting an example by drinking responsibly in the home and being honest about the health risks of alcohol are essential.

“This must be combined with tough action on cheap drinks and those marketed towards underage drinkers if we’re to see young people drinking less in future."