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Study Links Teen Alcohol, Drug Use To Paternal Drinking

June 19, 2009

A U.S. study showed on Thursday that teenagers who live with alcoholic fathers, or even dads who drink in moderation, are more likely to have used drugs or had drinks themselves in the past year, AFP reported.

The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that around one in five children aged 12 to 17 whose fathers did not drink in the past year had alcoholic beverages themselves, compared with a third of youngsters whose dads drank in moderation.

The study showed that nearly 4 out of 10 adolescents whose fathers abused alcohol had drinks in the past year, and a little more than 24 percent of those teens also admitted to using drugs during that year.

It also warned that binge drinking and alcohol abuse among 12- to 17-year-olds increased with the level of paternal alcohol use.

But among father’s who abstained completely from alcohol, only 3 percent of their children drank abusively in the past year, compared with 4.7 percent whose fathers drank only occasionally.

The study showed that the rate of binge drinking and other abusive forms of drinking among teens soared to more than 10 percent among kids whose fathers had problems with alcohol.

In the past year, illicit drug use by teens was also found to increase with the level of alcohol use by the father.

Only 14 percent of teens whose fathers did not drink alcohol reported using drugs in the past year, while among kids whose fathers drank moderately, the rate was more than four points higher, at 18.4 percent.

Eric Broderick, SAMHSA’s acting administrator, urged parents to use Father’s Day, which falls on Sunday, to “educate fathers, mothers and other role models about the profound impact their drinking behavior can have on teens.”

A majority 68 percent of fathers living with teenagers used alcohol in moderation. One in 12 fathers had a drinking disorder and only a quarter abstained from alcohol completely.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which polled 11,056 fathers and 9,537 father-child pairs between 2002 and 2007, provided most of the studies figures.

The survey was conducted with teens that were biological, stepchildren, and adoptive or foster children living with their fathers.

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