(And, incidentally, why I'm tentatively opposed to drug legalization despite my libertarian leanings.)

Apparently "girls gone wild" is reality in Britain, where almost 30% of young teenaged girls defined themselves as binge drinkers. Considering the level of denial that normally accompanies addiction, I bet the real number is actually a lot higher.

Teenage girls are now more likely than boys to drink, smoke, steal and take drugs, a survey has shown. ...

The study of 14 and 15-year-olds was conducted by questionnaire, in schools under exam conditions, and the results compared with a similar one from 1985.

Professor Colin Pritchard, who led the research, said: 'Girls now significantly smoke and binge-drink more than boys. They truant, steal and fight at similar rates, and start under-age sex earlier than boys.'

He said binge-drinking, which was admitted by nearly a third of girls in their early teenage years, drove other anti-social behaviour such as stealing, fighting, taking drugs and engaging in risky sex.

It should be pretty obvious that America's relatively puritannical history has given us a great cultural legacy that protects our society from many of the ills that pervade the rest of the world. I think we'd be wise to avoid Britain's "alcopop" culture.

And Sir John Krebs, principal of Jesus College Oxford, attacked the marketing of alcopops specifically for young people. 'The Government has stood by and let that happen, whereas it wouldn't have accepted the alcopop equivalent of cigarettes targeted at children,' he said.

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