Adolescent Alcohol Use—NIAAA Spectrum article

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Volume 13, Issue 1 Winter 2021

NOTEWORTHY: Adolescent Alcohol Use—A Crucial Developmental Period Explored in Recent NIAAA Mendelson Lecture

Sandra A. Brown, Ph.D., delivered the 2020 Jack Mendelson, M.D., Honorary Lecture on September 22. The title of her presentation was “Discerning Risks and Effects of Alcohol in the Midst of Adolescent Development.” 

In her lecture, Dr. Brown highlighted that alcohol is the substance of choice among adolescents. Although adolescents drink about half as often as adults, when they do drink, adolescents consume twice the amount and in a shorter time period. Dr. Brown discussed what is known about how alcohol alters adolescent brain development, including potential effects on brain structure and function that may contribute to poor learning, poor memory, and lack of self-control. Although some changes appear long lasting, some may resolve with abstinence.