It’s Not When You Had Your First Drink, It’s When You Got Drunk

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers are saying teen drinkers won’t necessarily have problems later in life -- but teen drunks will.

A new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research tracked nearly 45,000 15 year-olds who had experiences with alcohol.  

What they found challenges years of commonly-held thought. Now, teen drinkers who become drunk at an early age is the predictor for teens who will later engage in alcohol abuse, marijuana, and fighting.

Previously, researchers thought that age, more than intoxication level, affected performance later in life.  The authors say preventative programs should shift their focus in light of the new evidence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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