Sobering Up: Drinking Among Young People on the Decline Across U.S.

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Underage drinking and binge drinking rates among young people are on the decline across the USA, a new government study finds.

A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released Thursday found underage drinking among all U.S. residents from age 12 through 20 dropped 6.1%. Underage binge drinking decreased 5.1%.

The survey examined the years 2002 to 2013. In the final year of the study, 22.7% of the nation’s young people reported that they had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days.

“While we’re always very happy about these declines, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we have approximately 9 million underage drinkers in the country,” said Rich Lucey, special assistant to the director at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse.

About 14.2% of underage people reported they had engaged in binge drinking — defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion — in the last 30 days. That percentage is down from just under 20% in 2002.

For those age 18 through 20, however, the rate of binge drinking has stayed between 39% and 44% for the past two decades, Lucey said.

“We as a country could all do a much better job … to really start to drive those numbers down because I don’t think any of us are comfortable with an alarmingly high rate of binge drinking among that population, especially when we know the consequences related to it,” Lucey said.

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SOURCE: Tyler Pager
USA TODAY

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