Out of all the students who consumed alcohol prior to starting college, two-thirds of them used fake ids to obtain the alcohol. If they have fake IDs, they tend to use it about 25% of the time until they turn age 21. A study published online in October and will be published soon in the print journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, studied 1,015 students who had consumed alcohol before entering college. Researchers followed up with participants’ first four years of college.

The study “demonstrated that false ID use led to increases in drinking frequency and quantity,” said Amelia Arria, study author and director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

In addition, “we showed that while false ID use wasn’t directly related to [alcohol use disorders] risk; it indirectly predicted increases in [alcohol use disorders] risk over time through its contribution to increases in drinking frequency,” she said.

The younger a person’s age at their first drink puts them at greater tendency to make choices that are often associated with higher drinking levels. Fake ids change a young person’s access to alcohol completely.

These choices include:

  • Greater levels of alcohol and drug involvement during high school
  • Higher levels of sensation-seeking
  • Greek life involvement and living off campus

Jennifer Read is an associate professor in the department of psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. “I think some of the most important findings to come out of this study have to do with how widespread this problem is….”

“I was surprised that almost two-thirds of the students used false IDs. It will be interesting to see if this reflects something specific to this university or region in Dr. Arria’s study, or if the use of false IDs is this ubiquitous across campuses in the U.S.,” said Read, who was not involved in the study.

It is not clear at this time if the findings from this study will apply to young adults not attending college.

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