Friday, November 18, 2011

Women Who Drink Before Age 21 More Suicidal, Homicidal

Women born after 1960 and allowed to drink before age 21 are at higher risk for both suicide and homicide, said researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in an online article this week in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. In an analysis of data from the U.S. Multiple Cause of Death files, 1990 to 2004, combined with data on the living population from the U.S. Census and American Community Survey, women legally permitted to drink prior to age 21, before the establishment of a uniform drinking age, showed an association between minimum drinking age and committing homicide or suicide. The data contained records on over 200,000 suicides and 130,000 homicides for individuals born from 1949 to 1972, years during which the drinking age was in flux.

"Lower drinking ages may result in persistent elevated risk for suicide and homicide among women born after 1960," concluded the researchers, who estimated that the national drinking age of 21 may be preventing about 600 suicides and 600 homicides annually.

Another recent study showed that giving teens opportunities to drink alcohol in supervised contexts does not inhibit their consumption. Read more about it in Psychiatric News.

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