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Video games saving teens from drugs, booze hell

New research shows Swedish younglings are Just Saying No

A leading Swedish research group has found that teenagers in the country are boozing less and taking fewer drugs than any time in recent history - and suggested that video games are a key factor in the decline.

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In a survey of some 46,000 teens, the Swedish Council for Information on Alcohol and Other Drugs (CAN) discovered that percentage of Swedish 15-year-olds who drink alcohol has dropped to the lowest level in decades.

The level of 15 and 16-year-old boys who tried alcohol in the past year sunk to 55 percent - the lowest since CAN began its investigations in 1971. Ten years ago, that figure stood at 77 per cent. Figures for smoking and drug-taking also showed a steep decline.

"We see similar developments in other Nordic countries, and also in the United States. It seems to be an international trend," CAN director Bjorn Hibell told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter on Tuesday.

Hibell noted that levels of boozing amongst boys was lower than girls. 59 percent of female respondents said they had drunk alcohol in 2011.

"Sitting by the computer playing games is perhaps more boy-oriented than girl-oriented," said Hibell. "That might be a contributing factor."

Sobriety organisation IOGT-NTO also laid valour at gaming's door. Referring to CAN's research, it suggested that the hobby encouraged a culture of alertness.

Organisation's head Anna Carlstedt commented: "When you play computer games, or rehearse with your rock band, it doesn't work to be drunk. This is incredibly positive."

Thanks, Anders G

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