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Priorities In Minimizing Alcohol Problems Among Young People

R. Smart
Published 1979 · Psychology

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Although an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure, we have not been able to provide a gram of either for youthful drinking problems. Certainly, the past 10 years have seen a remarkable development of interest in youthful drinking problems. Ideally, we should be able to apply the solutions derived from solving adult drinking problems to those of young people. Unfortunately, our success with adults gives us almost nothing about which we can be certain. We do not have techniques tested and established for the prevention of adult drinking problems and hence cannot transfer anything of that type to the new problem of youthful drinking. Despite the lack of tested technology for prevention, we have at least a set of theories and approaches to prevention that can be examined for their relevance to youthful drinking problems. We need to consider which of those approaches will have the largest potential, but the decision is likely to be made with fragmentary empirical support. Another important task is to define problems among young people and to define what is to be prevented. It is known that young people’s drinking problems are different than adults in that they are less numerous and less serious in terms of clinical damage and physical disease.
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