By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There is a very disturbing report from the government but one of which parents should be aware. Their study results indicate that by late adolescence almost eighty percent of teenagers reported having consumed alcohol with almost fifty percent having reached regular drinking levels of at least 12 drinks within a year.

Here is the most disturbing fact: 15 percent have met the criteria for lifetime abuse.

It doesn’t stop at alcohol either. The opportunity to use illicit drugs was reported by 81.4 percent of the oldest adolescents.

The median age at onset was 14 years old for regular alcohol use or abuse with or without dependence; 14 years old for drug abuse with dependence; and 15 years old for drug abuse without dependence.

The information is in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

It is never too early to talk to your kids.

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