- For exposure to alcohol early in life to potentiate alcohol abuse in adolescence or adulthood, consequences of early exposure to alcohol must be of considerable duration. In two experiments using Norway rats as subjects, we examined effects of exposure during weaning to a dam consuming ethanol on adolescents' later affinity for ethanol. In a preliminary experiment, we offered rat pups a choice between 8% ethanol and water for 7 days immediately after they were weaned at 26 days of age. Pups whose dam had ingested 8% ethanol for 6 days either immediately or 1 week before we weaned them drank more ethanol than pups whose dam drank only water during the same period. Independent groups of rats reared by a dam consuming 8% ethanol from postnatal days 18 to 26 and tested 1, 2, 4 or 6 weeks later all drank significantly more 8% ethanol at testing than did pups whose dam drank only water. Our data also provided confirmation of previous reports of an experience-independent greater affinity for ethanol in younger rats.