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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Adolescents Who Drink Young Can't Control It Later

We know it's a lifetime for many but still - the 60s were a time of experimentation with many substances - liquid and chemical.

Studies show that adolescents who start drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life. So, convincing your kids to delay that first drink can make a big difference to the rest of their lives.

Parents of girls should be particularly wary. In the 1960s, only 7% of girls reported having their first drink between the ages of 10 to 14; now nearly 25% say they do. And the younger a girl is when she reaches puberty, the more likely substance abuse will occur earlier in her life.

Kids with major family problems are also at high risk to drink young. A survey of nearly 3,600 Americans ages 18 to 39 found that kids who experienced physical or sexual abuse, lived with a mentally ill family member, had substance abuse in their home, or had parents who went through a divorce or separation, were more likely to begin drinking before age 15.

The most vulnerable teens have family problems and a genetic predisposition for alcoholism, says Tammy L. Hughes, Ph.D., an associate professor of school psychology at Duquesne University. She points out that poverty, availability of drugs in the community, and low attachment to school and communities are also major risk factors.

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