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Teen's friends most significant risk factor for early drinking

Teen's friends most significant risk factor for early drinking
Expert: Drinking at a younger age associated with illegal activities. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

IOWA CITY, Iowa, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Friends of teens are the most significant risk factor for adolescents having that first drink too early, a U.S. researcher says.

Dr. Samuel Kuperman at the University of Iowa said a teen's friend might be the biggest risk factor for starting drinking ahead of family history and social behavior.

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Kuperman said drinking at a younger age is associated with illegal activities.

"Children oftentimes do things they wouldn't do if they weren't drunk," Kuperman said in a statement. "So, driving, getting into sexual activity, using other drugs, are all risks that might happen when somebody's drunk versus not drinking."

Drinking before the age of 14 is also associated with a risk for young adult alcohol dependency problems, Kuperman added.

Kuperman suggested talking to kids about drinking and its consequences.

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