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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Youth Alcohol Revised Policy

Alcohol is a major concern for many parents as their children approach middle school, which is when most young teenagers are introduced to alcohol by their peers. Preadolescence through young adulthood is the most important developmental stage for the brain; substances like alcohol can inhibit brain development. There are many parents who are lenient with their children when it comes to alcohol, they don't see the harm a little bit of booze can do to an immature brain/mind. There are also many parents who have kids that drink alcohol regularly and the parents have no idea; it is often the people who are closest to you that cannot see the signs that there is a problem. Doctors are now being told to screen better for alcohol use in their young patients, so that problems can be identified before it gets out of hand.

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends that doctors screen all of their young patients for alcohol use starting as early as middle school. The AAP Committee on Substance Abuse released a revised policy statement on youth alcohol use this month. "A remarkable amount of brain development is still occurring for young people through their 20s", said report lead author Patricia Kokotailo of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. "This policy statement provides better evidence about how alcohol affects the brains of young people and why it is important to screen children".

Doctors are the best people to recognize when there is a problem, they need to be vigilant in spotting signs of drinking and need to know how to provide prevention guidance according to committee chair Janet Williams of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Doctors need to know where treatment is available, in order to guide parents down that path if required. If you are interested in reading the revised policy, you can here.

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