RESEARCHERS at Deakin University are working with Mandurah alcohol retailers to reduce the high rate of underage drinking.
A alarming new survey shows 45 per cent of young people in Mandurah are using alcohol at age 14.
The Deakin University team found Mandurah bottle shops selling alcohol to a person that looked underage without checking age identification.
Letters have been sent to the bottle shop managers in a bid to help reduce underage sales.
Deakin psychology research fellow Dr Bosco Rowland urged adults, including parents and bottle shop workers, not to supply or sell alcohol to children.
“People working in the alcohol industry should always ask for age identification before selling alcohol to young people, however we have found that this is not always the case in Mandurah,” he said.
Dr Rowland said there were serious dangers in providing alcohol to underage youth.
“When asked where they obtain their alcohol they commonly reported getting it from home, but in some cases from bottle shops,” Dr Rowland said.
“The evidence is very clear - in communities where underage youth find it difficult to obtain alcohol, there is less youth alcohol use and fewer alcohol related injuries, assaults and deaths.
“Communities with less youth alcohol use also have higher rates of school completion.”
Support is available for Mandurah youth to become a “smart generation” by not damaging their brains with alcohol.
Communities That Care (CTC) Mandurah is working alongside Deakin to raise awareness.
“The project has a strong focus on enhancing conversations between parents and teens and setting rules around alcohol use,” CTC program officer Nadine Radin said.
Last year, year seven students from three Mandurah primary schools participated in the project, and this year two Mandurah high schools are taking the message to their year eight students and parents.
Year eight students from John Tonkin College have recently completed an art project which they hope will inspire other teens to delay drinking alcohol until 18 years of age.