Severe alcohol abuse can lead to death and disability. A large number of educational programmes for young people's drinking behaviour have been developed to counteract alcohol abuse. The aim of this research was to assess whether those programmes are rational from an economic point of view. It relies on a systematic review of economic evaluation analysis providing evidence on the status of those programmes. Only one study met all the inclusion criteria. This result suggested the performance of an economic evaluation of secondary data. A second systematic literature review with different inclusion criteria was therefore carried out. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria, but only three provided evidence of effectiveness. According to our simulations, if the interventions are effective they are also cost-effective. In other words if they can provide evidence of a decrease in alcohol use and abuse they can also provide evidence that the interventions are rational from an economic point of view. The review suggests two final comments. First, the current investment in preventive programmes is very limited. Secondly, larger studies and more adequate systems of evaluation are needed to provide scientific evidence of the impact of preventive educational strategies on alcohol abuse in young people.

AIMS: The aim of the study was to assess sociodemographic, parental and peer predictors of self-reported drunkenness in mid-adolescence.

METHODS: The data were obtained from a national school survey covering a random half of all Icelandic 9th and 10th grade students (mean age 14.7 years). The overall response rate was 92% (n = 3,913).

RESULTS: 30% of the respondents reported having been drunk or intoxicated at least once during the 30-day period prior to the survey. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that living with a single father, or in an urban area; having friends who get drunk or accept drunkenness; being supported by friends; having a father who gets drunk; having parents who assent to drunkenness; and lacking support from parents, were significantly associated with drunkenness. The strongest predictors of drunkenness were drunkenness among friends and friends' acceptance of drinking. The study did not find significant differences in the odds of drunkenness by gender or parental education. Students in 10th grade had higher odds of drunkeness than 9th grade students, which was accounted for by different family and peer contexts of younger and older adolescents.

CONCLUSIONS: Residence, family structure, high peer support, peer acceptance, peer drunkenness, parental acceptance, father drunkenness, and low parental support was related to higher odds of drunkenness in mid-adolescents. The results give directions to future research and interventions intended to prevent alcohol abuse in this population.

Various studies in industrialised European and non-European countries have expressed concern about the link between alcoholic drinks (e. g. alcoholic sodas, so called "alcopops") and binge drinking in adolescents and young adults. Binge drinking has been shown to be associated with considerable social harm and disease burden. Adolescent alcohol abuse including binge drinking is common, but the extent of the problem and the specific risk factors leading to binge drinking behaviour remains unclear. Although the long-term health of adolescent binge drinking has not been studied in detail, first studies report an elevated risk for physical injury, aggression, violent or driving offences while intoxicated and high-risk sexual behaviour. To date, a variety of socio-demographical characteristics associated with binge drinking have been studied. However, knowledge in this area is limited, as most research has been conducted among specific groups (i. e. North American college students, adolescents in Australia etc.). More and intensive research in Germany and other European countries is urgently needed, as results from other cultural backgrounds are not necessarily transferable.

Forty years ago, when the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) was founded, alcoholism was considered an adult disease driven principally by physiological determinants. As NIAAA expanded its research portfolio, new data and insights were obtained that led to an increased focus on underage and young adult drinking. Fostered by interdisciplinary research, etiologic models were developed that recognized the multiplicity of relevant genetic and environmental influences. This shift in conceptualizing alcohol use disorders also was based on findings from large-scale, national studies indicating that late adolescence and early young adulthood were peak periods for the development of alcohol dependence and that early initiation of alcohol use (i.e., before age 15) was associated with a fourfold increase in the probability of subsequently developing alcohol dependence. In recent years, developmental studies and models of the initiation, escalation, and adverse consequences of underage and early young adult drinking have helped us to understand how alcohol use may influence, and be influenced by, developmental transitions or turning points. Major risk and protective factors are being identified and integrated into screening, prevention, and treatment programs to optimize interventions designed to reduce drinking problems among adolescents and young adults. In addition, regulatory policies, such as the minimum drinking age and zero-tolerance laws, are being implemented and evaluated for their impact on public health.

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