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Early drunkenness may be riskier than an early age at first drink for problem behaviors
Date:12/14/2012

  • Many researchers and clinicians believe that an early age at first drink (AFD) can lead to alcohol problems.

  • A new study challenges that belief by examining linkages between AFD and problem behaviors.

  • Findings show that early drunkenness was a greater risk factor for 15-year-olds than an early AFD.

Many studies have reported that the earlier the age at first drink (AFD) the higher the chances of that person developing later drinking-related problems. However, it is unclear why consuming small quantities at an early age should lead to later problems. A new study of linkages between AFD and problem behaviors smoking, marijuana use, injuries, fights, and low academic performance among 15-year-olds has found that early drunkenness was a risk factor rather than an early AFD.

Results will be published in the March 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"The problem is that people tend to think of early drinking onset in terms of toxicity exposure," explained Emmanuel Kuntsche, a senior scientist at Addiction Switzerland as well as corresponding author for the study. "That is, the longer any creature is exposed to a toxic circumstance, the worse. Or, the earlier the toxic circumstance was in place, the worse today's outcome. However, this thinking neglects two principal issues when it comes to alcohol use: one, consumption of small amounts of alcohol such as a sip are not toxic, and two, the majority of the population is not constantly exposed to toxic amounts of alcohol. Adolescent drinking patterns in particular are characterized by large variations from day to day with longer periods of abstinence."

"This is a remarkable study, shedding light on an area too often considered obvious," added Allaman Allamani, former co-ordinator of the Florence Health Agency Alcohol Centre, and presently with the Tuscany Regional Health Ag
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Contact: Emmanuel Kuntsche
ekuntsche@addictionsuisse.ch
41-213-212-952
Addiction Switzerland

Contact: Allaman Allamani
allamana@gmail.com
39-55-462-4331 (Italy)
Regional Health Agency, Tuscany

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Source:Eurekalert


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