More links between binge drinking, other risky behaviors

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 22, 2007

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Almost half of all high school students drink alcohol, and a significant percentage are involved in binge drinking. This circumstance, in turn, is associated with an increased risk of participating in other risky behaviors, said a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the January Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2003 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. About 45% of teens reported having had an alcoholic drink in the past month, with nearly 29% consuming more than five drinks in one sitting. Those who drank excessively also were more likely than those who did not drink at all or imbibed more modestly to smoke, be a victim of dating violence and attempt suicide.

"It's not just that students drink alcohol, but how much they drink that most strongly affects whether they experience other health and social problems," said Jacqueline Miller, MD, lead author and a medical officer on the CDC's alcohol team.

Also, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published an updated guide to help doctors better manage problem drinking among patients. "Helping Patients Who Drink Too Much: A Clinician's Guide," includes information about new medications approved to treat alcoholism and behavioral support that can be given in a primary care setting.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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