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Friday, September 26, 2014

First Drink to First Drunk

Drinking at an early age can have a number of negative side-effects, leading to health problems, social problems, and addiction. A new study has found that the shorter the time between a teen’s first drink and the first time they get drunk, can increase the risk of a teen abusing alcohol later on, HealthDay reports. Researchers surveyed 295 high school students who drink.

The teens were asked:
  • When they first tried alcohol?
  • When they first got drunk?
  • How often they drank in the first month?
  • How often they engaged in binge drinking?
“If age of any use is the primary risk factor, our efforts should be primarily focused on preventing initiation of any use,” William Corbin of Arizona State University said in a news release. “If, however, age of first intoxication — or delay from first use to first intoxication — is a unique risk factor above and beyond age of first use, prevention efforts should also target those who have already begun drinking in an effort to prevent the transition to heavy drinking.”

The research indicated that teens who had their first drink at age 14 and first got drunk when they were 15 became heavier drinkers than teens that started drinking at the same age but were 18 before they first got drunk.

“We would recommend that parents attempt to delay their children’s use of alcohol as long as possible,” study author Meghan E. Morean said. “However, even among adolescents who have had their first drink, a significant percentage has yet to drink to intoxication. Therefore, parents’ efforts to delay drinking to intoxication may be helpful in reducing their child’s long-term risk for negative outcomes associated with early drinking.”

 The study appears in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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