Young drinking rates on decline in US

Underage and binge drinking rates among young people in America are falling, according to a US government study, mirroring similar trends in the UK.


Dangerous drinking among young people is on the decline in the US and the UK, according to the latest research (Photo: Wiki)

Drinking among US residents aged 12 to 20 dropped 6.1% and underage binge drinking decreased 5.1%, a nationwide report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found.

The survey, seen by USA Today, examined the years 2002 to 2013. In the final year of the study, 22.7% of under-21s reported that they had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days. The legal drinking age in the US is 21.

“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,” Rich Lucey, special assistant to the director at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse, told the newspaper.

A focus on reducing underage drinking at all levels of government in the US is the main cause of the decline, Lucey said.

Legislation and cultural changes are having similar impact across the Atlantic. In the UK, the number of alcohol-specific hospital admissions of young people has dropped by 40% in the last six years, according to figures released earlier this week by Public Health England.

In the last year alone, the number of under age alcohol-related hospital admissions dropped by 11%.

This chimes with a report released recently by charity Drinkaware that claimed middle-aged Britons are now drinking more than those in their late teens and early 20s.

The Portman Group, an independent body tasked with promoting responsible advertising among the drinks trade, said of the Public Health report, “These welcome figures are yet more evidence of the major decline in the number of alcohol-related hospital admissions for children.

“This trend is consistent with the significant, decade-long, falls in underage drinking and binge-drinking among young people. The drinks industry will continue working in partnership with national and local government to tackle underage drinking through  life skills education for children, strict enforcement on underage sales and robust  ID schemes – a combination that is working.”

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