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New CDC Report Shows 70% of U.S. High Schoolers Do Not Drink Alcohol

For Immediate Release

Contact: [email protected]; 202-251-5144

August 24, 2020 (Arlington, VA) - The Centers for Disease Control 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS) shows that about three in 10 high school students drank any alcohol in the 30 days before the survey (down more than 40%, proportionally, from the high recorded in 1995).  Additionally, the survey found less than 14% of high school students reported binge drinking in the past month.

The YRBSS also showed that most students are not driving after consuming alcohol or riding in cars with drinking drivers. Just 5% of survey respondents who drove in the last month report they drove after consuming alcohol. Fewer than one in six high school students have ridden with a drinking driver in the last month. CEO Chris Swonger welcomed the continued decline in high school drinking and emphasized’s ongoing commitment to eliminate underage drinking:

“The continued decline in underage drinking is great news for the health and safety of our kids – and thankfully, survey after survey continue to affirm this downward trend.

One of’s key missions is to eliminate underage drinking, and we believe the first step is to start a lifetime of conversations.

Because research continues to show parents are the number one influence on their kids’ decisions to drink - or not drink - alcohol. And when conversations about alcohol between children and parents go up, the underage drinking rate goes down. 

That’s why it’s so important that, as our kids start going ‘back to school’ in some form or fashion, parents must drive home the message that while their kids may be in a new classroom this year, the values that are important in their household are the same – like making healthy choices and not drinking underage. As a dad of two boys myself – one of them starting high school this year -- that’s a message that will be heard loud and clear in our house over and over, and I encourage all parents to continue those conversations at home, as well.’s evidence-based programs, like Ask, Listen, Learn, educate parents, teachers, and students and can help accelerate this progress in eliminating underage drinking.” (Ask, Listen, Learn)

Other key YRBSS findings include:

  • Underage drinking is higher among female high school students (32%) than among their male peers (26%), and White students report higher levels of consumption compared to their Hispanic and Black peers (34%, 28%, and 17%, respectively).
  • Binge drinking among high school students did not change between 2017 and 2019. However, the prevalence of students who reported they consumed 10 or more drinks in a row on a single occasion in the past month decreased significantly – down nearly 50%, proportionally, from a high of 6.1 in 2013 to a record low 3.1 in 2019.
  • Among students who report drinking in the past month, 41% of students report someone else gave them the alcohol they drank. The source of alcohol consumed by high school students has remained unchanged between 2007 and 2019.
  • About 15% of high school students report they first consumed alcohol before the age of 13. The trend in early onset consumption has been declining since 1991, down 54%, proportionally, from nearly 33%.

Full YRBSS findings are available at:


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