Survey: 92% of young people drank alcohol in past 2 months

YOUNG people could be drinking and taking more drugs than official records have found, with a new survey showing 92% of young Australians drank alcohol in the past two months.

The survey, conducted by the national youth mental health foundation, headspace, asked more than 3600 young Australians about their alcohol and drug use.

It found of the respondents, all aged 12 to 25 years old, 34% also admitted to taking "drugs" of some type in the last two months.

Of those under the legal drinking age of 18, 74% said they had drunk alcohol during the past eight weeks, 24% took drugs, and 65% reported their friends using drugs.

Headspace chief executive Chris Tanti described the results as "startling" and highlighted the need for health services to work with young people on drinking and drug-taking.

"We know many young people will choose to use alcohol and other drugs and scaring them into abstinence will not work," he said.

"What's important is providing young people with appropriate access to services, support and information in a way that suits them, which is not necessarily how it's being done by many services at the moment."

More than 60% of respondents also reported getting information on alcohol and drugs from friends, showing a need for health services to inform young people about lifestyle choices, the survey reported.