10% of 4th-Graders Have Tried Alcohol: Study
As many as 10 percent of 4th-graders have already had more than a sip of alcohol and 7 percent have had an alcoholic drink in the past year, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
The rate of those who have tried alcohol doubles between grades four and six, according to lead author John Donovan, associate professor of psychiatry and epidemiology. The research is published in the September issue of the journal Prevention Science.
"Children are drinking, and our concern with underage drinking needs to start in elementary school, not in high school or college," Donovan said in a prepared statement. "Knowing how many children have had experience with alcohol would serve as an indicator of the number potentially at risk for later use of marijuana and other illicit drugs."
Early drinking also is associated with a greater risk of other behavioral problems, "including absences from school, delinquent behavior, drinking and driving, sexual intercourse and pregnancy," he added.