US teen drinking at historic low

14th December, 2016 by Arabella Mileham

Teen drinking in the US has hit a historic low, a major new study has found.

parent-quit-drinkingDrinking rates among 8th, 10th and 12th grade pupils (13-18-year-olds) have sunk to its lowest levels in twenty-five years, according to the ‘2016 Monitoring the Future Survey’, which was compiled by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan.

The study found that both annual and monthly prevalence of alcohol use in the three grades had declined in 2016 and were at the lowest levels since the annual study began in 1991.

The proportion of students reporting binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to the survey had also fallen by a half or more since the 1990s, it found, with US newspaper USA Today arguing that “American teenagers are the best behaved they’ve ever been.”

Key to bringing alcohol drinking level down in children was in educating parents and other adults about the consequences of providing alcohol to teens, said Kraig R. Naasz, the president and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council, the trade body for producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the US.

He also noted the cooperation of the spirits industry through the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and the Federal Trade Commission’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” program.

“While there is more work to do, these historic declines in teen drinking underscore the effectiveness of public-private partnerships,” Naasz said.

“While there is more work to do, these historic declines in teen drinking underscore the effectiveness of public-private partnerships,” Naasz said.

The study shows that the percentage of 8th graders who had drunk alcohol in their lifetime fell 3.3% from last year to 22.8%, less than half the number recorded ten years ago, and down from 70% twenty five years ago. For 10th graders this fell 3.7% to 43.4% compared to 73% in 1991, while the proportion of 12th graders was now 61.2%, a fall of 2.8% since last year, down from 88% in 1991.

Monthly figures were smaller, with around 17.6% of 8th graders, 38.3% of 10th graders and 55.6% of 12th graders drinking alcohol in the last year, compared to 33%, 55% and 66% ten years ago.

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