New research has found that there is no such thing as a safe amount of alcohol for teens. The Merimbula News focused on the results of a study from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne that found teenagers who drink even small amounts of alcohol have a significantly higher risk of becoming abusers of alcohol or engaging in risky sexual behavior. This study challenges the national guidelines that suggest there is a low risk level of drinking for those under 18. It also could provide the necessary fuel to drive a national campaign to raise the legal drinking age. “The issue of when teens start drinking is very important,” said the lead researcher, Elya Moore, an epidemiologist who commented in the new piece. “Those who abstained from any alcohol in adolescence experienced fewer [bad] alcohol-related outcomes than those who drank at the ‘recommended’ level. “We found no evidence of a level that may have been safe. I think that’s the most remarkable finding.” The study tracked the drinking habits of 1,520 young people over 10 years. Researchers found in tracking these individuals that there were no signs of safe or sensible levels of drinking for adolescents. Even at fewer than three standard drinks a day, teenagers were found to increase their chances of alcohol abuse, social or legal problems or risky sexual behaviors in relation to alcohol ten years later. According to study findings, by young adulthood, 27 percent of men and 13 percent of women met at least one of the criteria for alcohol abuse and risky sexual behavior. The research also showed that the more boys drank in their teen years, the more likely they were to develop alcohol-related problems as young adults.