Background: The primary objective of this study is to determine whether age at first alcohol use is a determinant for adolescent acute alcohol intoxication characteristics, such as age at first acute alcohol intoxication and blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at hospital admission. Around the world, as in the Netherlands, a key aim of alcohol policy is to postpone the age at first alcohol use. This is based on cohort studies that indicate a relationship between a younger age at first alcohol use and subsequent adult alcohol use disorders. Methods: This study was conducted using a cohort of data comprising individuals under 18 years of age. Data were collected between 2007 and 2017 by the Dutch Pediatric Surveillance System (NSCK) in order to monitor trends in admissions for acute alcohol intoxication. Multivariate linear regression analyses were used to determine the association between age at first alcohol use and acute alcohol intoxication characteristics, such as age at first acute alcohol intoxication and BAC at admission. Results: This study indicates that among adolescents admitted for acute alcohol intoxication, adolescents who started drinking at ≤ 14 years of age are significantly more often female, lower educated, and raised in nontraditional family structures than adolescents who started drinking between 15 and 18 years of age. Multiple linear regression analyses indicated that age at first alcohol use, corrected for covariates, significantly predicted the age at acute alcohol intoxication and BAC at admission. The association between age at first alcohol use and age at intoxication was also found to be clinically relevant. Conclusions: Although causation cannot be implied based on the results of these analyses, the results of this study suggest that interventions delaying the age at first alcohol use could be successful in increasing the average age that adolescents are admitted to the hospital for acute alcohol intoxication.
- Age at First Alcohol Use
- Acute Alcohol Intoxication