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National Survey On Drug Use And Health: Underage Drinking At Record Lows

September 14, 2020 (Arlington, VA) - The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) survey shows record low prevalence of alcohol consumption amongst American youth, continuing a steady decline across all prevalence rates measured that has led to nearly 3 million fewer underage drinkers and 2.2 million fewer binge drinkers over the past 10 years.

The number of 12- to 20-year-olds who have consumed any alcohol in the last month has declined nearly 30 percent since 2010 (falling from 26 percent in 2010 to 18.5 percent in 2019). In just the last four years, underage binge drinking[1] decreased 17 percent (from 17 in 2015 to 11 percent in 2019) and underage heavy drinking[2] declined by 33 percent (from 3.3 percent in 2015 to 2.2 percent in 2019). COO and Senior Vice President of Research and Analysis Maureen Dalbec welcomed the continued decline and emphasized the organization’s ongoing commitment to eliminate all underage drinking:

“This year’s NSDUH continues to bring welcome good news that underage drinking is on the decline – and at record lows – but our work is not finished. is committed to continuing to bring individuals, families, and communities together to help our nation’s youth say ‘yes’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘no’ to underage drinking. Our best-in-class programs, such as Ask, Listen, Learn and OnResponsibility, foster a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility.”

Other key findings of the NSDUH show reaching parents, communities, and educators is key to eliminating underage drinking. NSDUH data show that seven out of 10 underage drinkers did not pay for the alcohol they consumed. Nearly 60 percent reported the alcohol was paid for by an unrelated person who is 21 or older (29 percent) or parents or family member who is 21 or older (28 percent). Other sources include getting it from someone under 21 (16 percent) and taking it from their own or someone else’s home (12 percent).

Among students who report drinking in the past month, 41 percent of students report someone else gave them the alcohol they drank. The source of alcohol consumed by high school students has remained unchanged in the past decade.

Full NSDUH data are available at:

[1] Four/five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past month

[2] Four/five or more drinks on the same occasion on 5 or more days in the past 30 days



About is a national not-for-profit that aims to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, eliminate underage drinking, and empower adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices as part of a balanced lifestyle. is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; and Pernod Ricard USA. For 29 years, has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families, and communities together to inspire a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices. To learn more, please visit


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