To the Editor:
“Youthful Binge Drinking Fueled by Boredom of the Open West” (front page, Sept. 2), about under-age drinking, may leave the impression that teenagers in the sparsely populated Plains and Western states are more at risk than teenagers in other parts of the country.
While geographical isolation may increase vulnerability to excessive drinking, similar spikes in use exist in a wide range of rural, suburban and urban communities. Briefly mentioned in the article, parental attitude and behavior are far more significant determinants in adolescent alcohol and drug use.
In Manhattan or the Great Plains, if a parent conveys the attitude to his teenager that drinking is a “rite of passage,” that teenager is more likely to use and abuse alcohol.
While boredom may be a general ally of substance abuse, alone it is an insufficient causal factor.
President, Odyssey House
New York, Sept. 7, 2006