Between 2009 and 2010 the percentage of 11-15 year olds who had tried alcohol fell from 51% to 45%.So positive was this story that even the ubiquitous Don Shenker doom-mongering quote was missing. Unsurprising, really, since it just isn't possible to spout Alcohol Concern's most popular soundbite of "pocket money prices fuelling under-age drinking" in this context.
The NHS Information Centre figures also suggested "a shrinking number think that drinking and drunkenness is acceptable".
In fact, it's worse than that for Don and his chums, as the Straight Statistics team reports.
The general trend ... has been a steady decline for the past decade but the 2010 figures suggest this decline is accelerating. The numbers saying that they had drunk alcohol in the past week fell from 18 per cent in 2009 to 13 per cent in 2010 – five percentage points in a single year.And to illustrate this, here is that under-age binge-drinking epidemic in glorious technicolour.
From the above, it's clear that whether alcohol is being sold at 'pocket money prices' or not, the point is moot. Kids are increasingly choosing not to spend their pocket money on it. There's simply no urgent problem here.
Of course, for regulars at Chez Dick this comes as no surprise, but after years of being told the sky is falling with regard teen alcohol consumption, half the commenters at the BBC article express total disbelief. Instead, it must be the kids lying, they say. In an anonymous survey. Over ten years. With different kids each time of asking.
So, despite the source being impeccable, and the respondents having no axe to grind, our bovine public are still - in large numbers - inclined to believe misinformation produced by lobby groups, whose funding relies on creating scare stories where none exist, rather than stark incontrovertible fact.
When the handling of social issues is so out of balance as is definitely the case with the perception of our nation's drinking habits, it's well past time to look seriously at why the likes of Alcohol Concern are funded as generously as they are.