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Pediatricians alerted to the developmental nature of underage drinking in special journal supplement
Date:4/6/2008

In a special supplement to Pediatrics, edited and sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), physicians will have access in one place to the reviews and analyses of current research on biological, behavioral, and environmental changes during childhood and adolescence that foster the initiation, maintenance, and acceleration of illegal use of alcohol by underage youth. This is a first time collection of where science is in our understanding of underage drinking as a developmental issue. NIAAA, one of the institutes of the National Institutes of Health, is committed to moving scientific discovery to strategic prevention and intervention strategies in order to decrease the toll that alcohol is taking on our youth--and as these youth grow--to our society.

We now recognize that underage drinking must be addressed, not as an isolated phenomenon, but as one fully embedded in the context of child and adolescent development, said NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. From birth through adolescence, a complex cascade of biological, psychological and social development interacts with dynamic environmental influences, leading to behavior that may either move individuals toward or away from underage drinking.

Looking at developmental perspectives to determine the risk of alcohol dependence is a relatively new scientific approach that is bearing results. For example, according to recent research, binge drinking by young people makes them more vulnerable to the development of alcohol dependence over a lifetime. Further, risk of an individuals becoming alcohol dependent is related to how early the young person starts drinking. NIAAAs Pediatrics supplement includes researchers from a wide range of scientific disciplines.

A sampling of the resources available in the supplement includes:

Ann S. Masten, Ph.D., professor in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and coll
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Contact: NIAAA Press Office
NIAAAPressOffice@mail.nih.gov
301-443-3860
NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Source:Eurekalert

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