NIH Study Finds Missed Opportunities for Underage Alcohol Screening

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Physicians often fail to ask high school-aged patients about alcohol use and to advise young people to reduce or stop drinking, according to a study led by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). In a random survey of more than 2,500 10th grade students with an average age of 16 years, researchers from NIAAA and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that 34 percent reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Twenty-six percent said they had binged, defined as five or more drinks per occasion for males, and four or more for females. While more than 80 percent of 10th graders said they had seen a doctor in the past year, just 54 percent of them were asked about drinking, and 40 percent were advised about alcohol harms. In addition, among students who had been seen by a doctor in the past year and who reported drinking in the past month, only 23 percent said they were advised to reduce or stop drinking.

–National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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