HPA researchers along with researchers from the University of Otago recently published an analysis in comparing the different impacts of an early age of first drink versus age of first intoxication.
Using data from the Christchurch Health and Development Study, they found that a measure of age of first intoxication predicted alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder outcomes in adulthood, but the age of first drink measure did not. They concluded that focusing efforts on reducing or delaying early adolescent intoxication may have positive long-term outcomes. This study also suggests that measuring adolescent intoxication has more utility than measuring age of first drink.
Access to the article in Drug and Alcohol Dependence is available here.