I’m a pediatrician, and when I see adolescents in my clinic, I ask them if they are drinking alcohol (among other risky activities). Then I counsel them if they answer in the affirmative. I want young people to be safe.
But doctors lack the evidence base — we don’t have enough studies — to know how much of a difference this makes.
Here’s why we may want an answer. Excessive drinking is responsible for 88,000 deaths per year in the United States, about one in 10 deaths among working-age adults. The cost in 2010 was almost $250 billion.
And drinking is a serious problem among adolescents. More than 9 percent of those 12 to 17 years drink alcohol, and almost 5 percent engaged in binge drinking in the last month.