Teen drinking leads to risk of alcoholism and social exclusion
A recent study reports that teen binge drinkers are more likely to use drugs, to become alcoholics and to be convicted of a criminal offense.
The Institute of Child Health released a study of 11,000 children who were born in 1970 and monitored at the age of 16 and 30. At the age of 30, participants were asked to describe their levels of heavy drinking based specific criteria:
- Weekly consumption
- Illicit drug use
- Mental health problems
- Educational achievement and employment
- Personal history
Binge drinking was defined as two or more episodes in which four or more drinks were consumed in a row. One in four of the 16 year old were habitual drinkers, drinking more than two to three times a week.
Experts called the findings of this study, which was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, worrying.
Binge drinkers were;
- more likely to be alcoholics and
- have criminal records,
- were 40% more likely to use illegal drugs,
- 40% more likely to suffer from mental health problems and
- 60% more like to be homeless.
Social Exclusion – Binge drinkers were found to be
- 40% more likely to be involved in accidents and
- almost four times as likely to be excluded at school.
Dr. Russell Viner, lead researcher, said, “Adolescent binge-drinking is a risk behaviour associated with significant later adversity and social exclusion.” The authors of the study conclude, “Binge-drinking may contribute to the development of health and social inequalities during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.”
Researchers suggest that efforts to decrease the rate of binge drinking be set within the wider context of adolescent risk behaviour rather than concentrating specifically on alcohol use, access and availability.