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Is “Just a Sip” Still Too Much?

(Summer 2015) Some parents feel that allowing their children to have a small sip of alcohol now and then may quell their curiosity and thus keep them from underage drinking. This approach, however, is backfiring, according to researchers at Brown University. Data indicate that these youth run a higher risk of drinking — and using drugs as well — by the time they are in high school. In fact, those who took sips before entering sixth grade increased their likelihood of having a whole drink by their freshman year by 500%, as opposed to the rest of their cohort who had not consumed alcohol. Additionally, those tasting alcohol at an early age quadrupled their risk of getting drunk or binge drinking by the first half of their ninth-grade year when compared to their completely alcohol-free classmates.

The study’s findings indicate that parents should reinforce the idea that alcohol is not for children and restrict their access to it.

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