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Alcohol and the teenage brain: Safest to keep them apart.

Hickie, I

Young Drivers

2010

Recently College President Lauchlan McIntosh met with DrinkWise Australia to discuss areas of mutual interest and a potential partnership. DrinkWise is a not-for-profit research and social change agency that is dedicated to building a culture in Australia where intoxication or ‘drinking to get drunk’ is considered unacceptable. As road safety authorities are well aware, the individual and social harms associated with this culture are significant and borne by everyone in the community. The President was made aware of research commissioned by DrinkWise, which summarizes the current literature in relation to alcohol and the teenage brain. The paper [1], a summary of which appears below, provides strong support for actions by licensing authorities to separate novice drivers from drinking and driving. DrinkWise advises parents that delaying drinking for as long as possible is still the best message for teenagers. Research is clear that the younger the age children are introduced to alcohol, the more likely they are to develop a range of problems, including dependence later in life. The DrinkWise website at www.drinkwise.com.au provides practical advice for parents in dealing with the issue.

The full article, along with related research about alcohol consumption, cultural drivers and community attitude, can also be found on the DrinkWise website.