Excessive alcohol use, including episodic or binge drinking, is increasing in many countries. Author Rameshwar N. Bhardwaj points out in his new book Underage Drinking: Risks of Disease and Injuries, that the consequences can be devastating to individuals and to society.
In this extensively researched and referenced mega-analysis study, Bhardwaj highlights the risk factors for underage drinking and the harmful effects of adolescent alcohol abuse. Among young, heavy alcohol users, short- and long-term health effects include greater likelihood of co-drug use and increased risk of auto crashes, suicidal ideation/attempts and ongoing health and economic issues, such as unemployment, disabilities, educational failures and dropouts, and treatment and rehabilitation costs.
An accounting and finance professor at George Brown College in Toronto who holds a Ph.D. in economics, Bhardwaj also discusses how evidence-based prevention and intervention studies can mitigate harmful effects among young consumers.
Bhardwaj summarizes literature ranging from journal studies focusing on substance abuse to World Health Organization data on the harm of drinking to individuals and those around them. Pointing out that alcohol use disorders resulting from early-age drinking are preventable when parents play an active role to control early consumption, he adds that public health and educational institutions must do their part to create preventive policies. Such policies, he writes, have not kept up with new harmful drinking patterns and expanded alcohol promotion.
Bhardwaj’s hope is that active collaboration among health, social science and epidemiologic disciplines can support more effective public policies on underage drinking.
The book is written in the dense, academic tone of a study, with graphs and tables that complement the text. The author leaves readers guessing if this is an updated Ph.D. thesis or a study supported by an educational, governmental or nonprofit agency.
Nonetheless, Bhardwaj’s book will be useful for policy makers, grant writers, educators, and those working in alcohol abuse prevention, particularly for adolescents.
Also available as an ebook.