Magazine article The Futurist

Teen Drinking

Magazine article The Futurist

Teen Drinking

Article excerpt

In many European countries, youth drink more heavily and more often than their American counterparts, despite liberal European laws and attitudes thought to encourage greater responsibility, according to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Compared with American youth, a greater percentage of young people in Denmark, Ireland, Poland, and Britain report having frequently engaged in "binge drinking"-having five or more drinks in a row.

"If the early socialization to drinking that is assumed to be typical of Europe is such that it fosters responsible drinking, then we would expect to see much lower rates of binge drinking there than in the United States. Contrary to these expectations, U.S. adolescents show lower prevalence for [binge drinking] than most European countries," according to the Justice Department.

In the 1999 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs, binge drinking was most prevalent among Polish and Irish 15-to 16-year-olds, with 31% reporting having done so three times or more in the previous 30 days. By comparison, fewer than 17% of American tenth graders reported bingeing twice or more in the previous two weeks. Other countries high in binge-drinking rates include Denmark and United Kingdom (both 30%). Portugal reported among the lowest rates, at 6%.

"Based on this analysis, the comparison of drinking rates and alcohol-related problems among young people in the United States and in European countries does not provide support for elimination of U. …

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