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HHS HealthBeat (March 7, 2013)

18, 21, binge

Three people taking shots of alcohol.

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates people who can start to drink younger are more likely to turn out to be binge drinkers.  At Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Andrew Plunk saw this in national survey data. He compared people who grew up in states where it was legal to drink at 18 with people from states where the age was 21.

Plunk says people in the age-18 states were more likely to binge – which is five or more drinks on an occasion for men, and four or more for women. He notes binge drinking is dangerous:

“The acute impact of a heavy drinking episode can be very disastrous. All sorts of bad things happen to people whenever they’re drunk.”

The study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 21, 2013