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Dad's Drinking Predicts Teen Imbibing, Study Finds

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Living with an alcoholic father dramatically increases the risk of binge drinking among teenagers, according to new research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Researchers said that more than 10 percent of 12- to 17-year-old children of alcoholics engaged in binge drinking or other abusive alcohol use within the past year, compared to 4.7 percent of children with fathers who drank moderately and 3 percent among teens whose dads didn't drink at all.

SAMHSA acting administrator Eric Broderick said the findings showed the need to “educate fathers, mothers and other role models about the profound impact their drinking behavior can have on their children.”

The study found that 39 percent of teenage children of alcoholic fathers drank alcohol within the past year, researchers also found, and about 24 percent said they had used illicit drugs. Past-year drinking was reported by 21 percent of adolescents whose fathers abstained from alcohol use and one-third of children of moderate drinkers.

Sixty-eight percent of fathers living with adolescents drank alcohol; 7.9 percent met the clinical definition of having an alcohol disorder.

The full report, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, is available online at the SAMHSA website.

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