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Meaningful Reductions in Underage Drinking Documented in Report to Congress

The recently released Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Report to Congress on the Prevention and Reduction of Underage Drinking shows encouraging results in the fight against underage drinking.  It notes significant declines in the prevalence rates of underage drinking from 2004 to 2010,  especially among 12 to 17 year olds.

During the six-year time frame analyzed in the report, the report documents statistically significant reductions in past month consumption and binge drinking among 12 to 20 year olds.  Specifically, among 12 to 17 year olds, past month consumption declined 23 percent and binge drinking dropped 30 percent.  Furthermore, the average age of first consumption has increased from 15.6 years in 2004 to 16.1 years in 2010, a statistically significant increase.

Although prevalence of drinking rates is lower at younger ages, binge drinking rates increase with increasing age.  This report documents statistically significant reductions in binge drinking among all underage subgroups.  From 2004 to 2010 binge drinking declined 50% among 12-13 year olds, 26% among 14-15 year olds, 16% among 16-17 year olds, and 32% among 18-20 year olds; overall among 12 to 20 year olds binge drinking dropped 13% to a record low 17 percent. 

We’re pleased with the downward trends in underage drinking noted in this report, especially among the younger age groups, as one of the key tactics of our underage drinking programs is to delay the onset of drinking.   However, there is still cause for concern. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility remains committed  to eliminate underage drinking through its educational initiatives, partnerships and public awareness campaigns.  To learn more about what we are doing to fight underage drinking.

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