Underage And Binge Drinking Rates On Decline in U.S.

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that alcohol drinking may be losing some of its attraction among younger drinkers.

From 2002 to 2013, the study found, the percentage of people aged 12 through 20 who drank went from 28.8 percent to 22.7 percent, a 6.1 percent decline.

Binge drinking, meaning consumption of five or more drinks on one occasion, declined from 19.3 percent to 14.2 percent, a 5.1 percent decline.

The report analyzed data from the National Survey for Drug Use and Health. 59.4% of the college age population reported having at least one drink in the last 30 days, according to the survey.

Alchohol, however, does remain the most widely used substance of abuse. In the survey 22.7% said they drink. 16.9% said they use tobacco and 13.6% said they use illicit drugs.

Rich Lucey, special assistant to the director at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse, said:

“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.

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.”

The study aligns with other surveys done in the past several years. For example, one 2014 study from the University of Michigan found high school students increasingly look negatively on at drinking to excess on weekends. Around 75 percent of the seniors surveyed disapproved of it.

Meawhile, another 2014 study found that 1 in 6 (17 percent) young adults between the ages of 18 to 25 has abused a prescription stimulant at least once in their lifetime. http://www.drugfree.org/newsroom/adhd-survey-2014 THe most used stimulants were Adderall (60 percent), Ritalin (20 percent) and Vyvanse (14 percent), all of which are prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Photo: Stop Alcohol Deaths, Inc./flickr