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PETALING JAYA, May 29 — A study by Universiti Teknologi Mara graduates last year found teens as young as 15 in Kuala Lumpur drinking alcohol.
The study on “Alcoholism among youth in Kuala Lumpur” revealed 45 per cent out of 150 respondents aged 15 to 24 had consumed alcohol with 28 per cent being 17-year-olds.
It also found 36 per cent of those between 16 and 24 had drunk more than four units on at least one day in a week compared to 20 per cent aged 65 and above.
Among young women, 37 per cent of those between 16 and 24 had exceeded three units on at least one day compared with only 11 per cent of those aged 65 and above.
The study stated beer and cheap spirits known locally as Samson are Malaysians’ favourite.
Aimed at educating youth about problems related to alcohol consumption, it stated people who drink at a young age were more likely to try drugs which ultimately could place them on the path to lifelong addiction.
It said alcohol consumption can damage a child’s mental and physical health especially at a pivotal stage of life where the brain is going through major developments.
Drinking alcohol may also lead to poor performance in school or college.
The study said heavier taxes on alcohol could reduce the number of young drinkers. Other suggestions included holding educational campaigns in schools and through the media on the dangers of alcoholism.
Malaysians spend over RM2 billion on alcohol annually, making the country the 10th largest consumer in the world.