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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Researchers Find Teen Drinking Countered by Laws that Curb Adult Binge Drinking

A new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Boston Medical Center researchers reveals that U.S. states with stronger alcohol policies have lower rates of youth overall drinking and binge drinking. The study’s results, published in the journal Pediatrics, further suggest that the link is largely a result of policies intended mostly for adults and their effects on reducing adult binge drinking.

The first-of-its-kind study, led by a multidisciplinary research team, reviewed data on 29 youth-specific and adult policies on drinking to establish scores characterizing each state’s alcohol policy “environment.” Higher scores were given to states with more effective and better-implemented policies; the research team then related those policy scores to youth drinking data from states’ Youth Risk Behavior Surveys from 1999 to 2011.

The study found that each 10 percentage point increase in the strength of a state’s policy environment was related to an 8 percent reduction in the likelihood of youth drinking any alcohol, and a 7 percent reduction in the likelihood of binge drinking, defined as drinking past the point of intoxication.

“Our results strongly support other evidence about the power of public policies to reduce excessive drinking and related medical and social problems,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi, a pediatrician at BMC and associate professor of public health and medicine, who was the study’s lead investigator.

To read more about the study, go to: