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CDC Study Shows Fewer American Youth Drink Before Age 13

Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2015. The survey results show continued progress in the fight to eliminate underage drinking and delaying the onset of alcohol consumption among our nation’s youth.

In 2015, 63 percent of high school students report they have ever consumed alcohol in their lifetime, a decrease of nearly five percent from 2013. Even more positive is the finding that fewer high school students say they consumed alcohol for the first time before they were 13 years old. Less than one in six high school students report consuming alcohol before the age of 13 – down nearly eight percent from 19 percent in 2013 to 17 percent in 2015.

Nationwide, one in three high school students report consuming one or more drinks of alcohol in the past 30 days a decline of six percent from 2013. Among these high school students who report currently drinking, 44 percent usually obtained the alcohol they consumed by someone giving it to them. In 2015, less than one in five high school students report consuming five or more drinks in a row and one in twenty-five report they consumed was 10 or more drinks in a row. Binge drinking among high school students decreased significantly, down 15 percent from 21 percent in 2013 to 18 percent in 2015. The prevalence of students consuming 10 or more drinks in a row also decreased significantly – declining 30 percent from 6 percent in 2013 to 4 percent in 2015.

Despite the reductions in underage drinking, high school students report engaging in dangerous behaviors involving underage drinking and driving. Although slightly lower than the rates reported in 2013, one in five high school students (20 percent) report riding in a car or other motor vehicle with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Further, among high school students who drove a motor vehicle in the past month, eight percent say they drove a car on one or more occasions when they had been drinking alcohol.

For 25 years, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility ( has been a leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and has played a significant role in these noted reductions by bringing individuals, families and communities together. continues to provide innovative programs and initiatives such as Talk Early and Ask, Listen, Learn to help guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. Today’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance survey results are good news, but our work is not finished. Follow us on social media and join us in helping our nation’s youth say “yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “no” to underage drinking.

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Maureen Dalbec, Vice President of Research at, and her husband are proud parents of two college age children. In her free time she enjoys running and swimming and occasionally competing in triathlons as well as volunteering in her community.

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