Reducing binge drinking

Recent research in the UK has indicated that dangerous, excessive drinking among young people can be prevented if parents discuss alcohol use at home and encourage their teens to drink small amounts of alcohol with meals or in other family settings. Lead author Mark Bellis writes, “By the age of fifteen the vast majority of young people are already using alcohol and this study suggests that those who do so with their parents are more likely to avoid the most dangerous drinking behaviours.”

Our 21 year-old drinking age makes this type of safe and sensible introduction to alcohol–in many cases a preventative measure–illegal for most American parents. Teens’ peers are instead left to the job, and too often the result is risky drinking in secretive settings. A lower drinking age and educational initiatives for parents and children alike would encourage introduction to moderate and responsible alcohol use in the home.

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