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Teenagers whose parents drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are far more likely to drive under the influence themselves compared with teens whose parents don’t drive after using drugs or alcohol, according to a new government study.

The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is based on a survey of 67,500 people ages 12 and older. The survey found that overall, 11.5 percent of youths ages 16 and 17 drove under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the previous year.

More than 18 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds who lived with a mother who drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs had also driven under the influence, compared with 11 percent of teens who lived with a mother who didn’t use drugs or alcohol before driving.

HealthDay reports 21.4 percent of teenagers who lived with a father who drove under the influence also engaged in this risky behavior, compared with 8.4 percent of teens whose fathers did not engage in drugged or drunk driving.

“Parents play a key role in preventing drunk and drugged driving, beginning with setting a good example,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said in a news release. “Parents who drink, or drug, and drive not only put their lives and the lives of others at immediate risk, but increase the likelihood that their children will follow down this destructive path.”


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