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Teen Binge Drinking Increases Risk of Problems As Adults

More likely to be alcoholics, have criminal convictions, or be homeless

THURSDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who binge drink are more likely to have considerable problems as adults, including problem drinking, drug use, homelessness, criminal convictions and lower education, according to a report in the October issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Russell M. Viner, Ph.D., and a colleague from University College London in the United Kingdom examined the long-term effects of binge drinking in 11,622 British subjects at the age of 16 years and 11,261 of these same participants at age 30. Binge drinking was defined as two or more episodes of drinking four or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks.

The researchers classified 17.7 percent of subjects as binge drinkers at 16 years of age. As adults, these subjects were more likely to be dependent on alcohol (odds ratio 1.6), drink excessively on a regular basis (OR, 1.7), use illicit drugs (OR, 1.4), have psychiatric problems (OR, 1.4), be homeless (OR, 1.6), have criminal convictions (OR, 1.9), be excluded from school (OR, 3.9), lack qualifications (OR, 1.3), have accidents (OR, 1.4), and be of lower social class.

"Adolescent binge drinking is a risk behavior associated with significant later adversity and social exclusion," the authors conclude. "Binge drinking may contribute to the development of health and social inequalities during the transition from adolescence to adulthood."

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