Where do they get the alcohol?

It’s actually pretty remarkable just how easy it is for young people to get hold of alcohol. Not only is it illegal to buy alcohol for them, but most adults think that alcohol is something teenagers should be avoiding. So where are teenagers getting their alcohol?

Friends or friend’s siblings

Teenagers who drink most commonly get their alcohol from a boyfriends or girlfriends, from a friend or friends’ siblings – 17 per cent of boys and 28 per cent of girls in the 9th grade mentioned these sources in 2018. The corresponding figures for 2nd year upper secondary school students were 24 per cent of boys and 42 per cent of girls. In second place comes another adult, who is not a sibling or parent, with 17 per cent of 9th graders and 20 per cent of upper secondary school students saying they had got hold of alcohol via adults who bought it for them from Systembolaget.

If you're outgoing, it's no problem at all getting hold of alcohol. You just have to know the right people.

Kevin, aged 15, Umeå

From home

In third place come the teenagers’ own parents. 10 per cent of ninth graders, and 19 per cent of 2nd year upper secondary school students had got it from their parents.

My sister asked me if I wanted her to buy for me. I said no, but then she asked me again if I was absolutely sure.

Nicole, aged 14, Örebro


14 per cent of the ninth graders who had drunk smuggled alcohol got it from an adult who bought or sold it. 13 per cent got their alcohol from a boyfriend or girlfriend, friends, or friends’ siblings. The alcohol is usually cheap, which means the teenagers can buy more of it.

More to read about the same topic

Teenager’s drinking habits

Not only is it illegal to buy alcohol for young people, but most adults think that alcohol is something teenagers should be avoiding. So where are teenagers getting their alcohol? How much do they drink? And what sort of problems do young people experience in connection to alcohol?

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

Teenagers and alcohol

There are many considerations that can easily arise when your child becomes a teenager. But first and foremost: how do young people think about drinking themselves? And why is it more dangerous to drink alcohol in adolescence than as an adult?

Take responsibility

Maybe you sometimes feel pretty helpless as a parent. But there’s a lot you can do. As always showing that you care, that you’re there and that you are happy to listen. And often it’s important to be clear about what you expect of your teenager.

If parents are not around

Festivals, home parties and trips abroad are examples of situations where adults are rarely present. There are some pitfalls that you, as a parent, should be aware of and that you can teach your teenager how to handle.

Yes or no?

The clearer you communicate your expectations, the easier it is for your teenager to take a stand or do what you say. Also, think about what sort of message and values you’re conveying to your child.

The teenage years

The teenage years are a very special time in your child’s life. Teenagers are navigating the frontier lands between childhood and adulthood and there are a lot of new things to handle: school, friends, being allowed to stay out late, sex, parties and – not least – alcohol.

Back to The Teenage Phrasebook home page