Alcohol Use And Abuse Among Adolescents

Alcohol use among adolescents is a serious world-wide problem. Surveys indicate that up to 54 percent of eighth graders, and up to 84 percent of twelfth graders report having consumed alcohol (O'Malley et al, l998). There is little doubt that parents' attitudes and habits concerning drinking are important influences on adolescent drinking (Ary et al, 1993). However, there is also evidence that adolescents who abuse alcohol often have coexisting psychopathology such as sociopathy, and bouts of depression and anxiety (Clark and Bukstein, 1998).

Another significant reason for concern about alcohol ingestion by adolescents is the close association of alcohol abuse with the use of other drugs. There is considerable evidence that alcohol use tends to precede use of illicit drugs, and some researchers argue that, based on long-term studies, alcohol serves as a ''gate-way'' to the use of illicit substances. As early as the eighth grade, alcohol users were found to have a significantly higher prevalence of cigarette smoking, and use of marijuana and cocaine than non-users of alcohol. This difference persists through grade 12 and thereafter (Kandel and Yamaguchi, 1993).

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