This site is intended for health professionals only

Warning over teenage binge-drinking

Teenagers who binge-drink are more likely to use drugs or become alcoholics when they grow up, research claims.

The study involving more than 11,000 British children found that teenagers who drink heavily are storing up health problems for when they reach the age of 30.

Binge-drinkers at the age of 16 are 60% more likely to be addicted to alcohol at 30, and 70% more likely to regularly drink heavily than those who avoided excessive alcohol consumption.

They are also 40% more likely to use illegal drugs, and 60% more likely to be homeless.

The report's authors, Dr Russell Viner, and Professor Brent Taylor, from the Institute of Child Health in London, said: "Adolescent binge-drinking is a risk behaviour associated with significant later adversity and social exclusion.

"Binge-drinking may contribute to the development of health and social inequalities during the transition from adolescence to adulthood."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "We are determined to reduce the harm caused to young people by alcohol, and are committed to educating young people on the very real harm it causes.

"We are preventing the sale of alcohol to children by cracking down on irresponsible retailers, and working with the industry to reduce under-age sales of alcohol whilst continuing to educate youngsters about the harm of alcohol abuse."

Institute of Child Health

Copyright © PA Business 2007