Study: Teens Report First Alcoholic Drink at 15

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A new national study released Tuesday revealed that many of the nation's teens have no problem with drinking alcohol.

The study found 45 percent of teenagers questioned say downing five or more alcoholic drinks a day was not a big problem and they see no great risk involved in that activity.

"These findings should serve as a call to action for parents," MetLife Foundation President Dennis White said.

"We encourage parents and caregivers to pay attention to the warning signs of teen drinking and other drug use, in order to intervene early and effectively," he continued. "If you suspect a problem, do not wait to get help for a child who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction."

One bright spot in the survey, conducted by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and MetLife Foundation, revealed that the number of teens drinking alcohol in the past month declined -- down to 35 percent from a high of 50 percent in 1998.

Findings from the study include:

  • A majority said they had their first full alcoholic drink by age 15, not including sipping or tasting alcohol.
  • Of those teens who reported alcohol use, one in four said they drank a full alcoholic drink for the first time by age 12 or younger.
  • Among teens who reported drinking alcohol, the average age of first alcohol use was 14.
  • A majority of teens, seven out of 10 , report having friends who drink alcohol at least once a week.

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