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Underage Drinking Among American Youth at Lowest Recorded Level Since Record Keeping Began in 1991

Unprecedented declines noted in youth underage drinking rates from 2020 to 2021 

 Arlington, Va. Today, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released the results of its 2021 Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey, which tracks long-term behaviors of substance use and related attitudes amongst 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students.  

Among teens in the three grades, statistically significant decreases were noted on all prevalence rates measured in the study – lifetime, annual, past-month, and binge drinking. More specifically, the survey found the following: 

  • More than six out of ten teens report they never consumed alcohol; 
  • Current underage drinking is at the lowest level ever recorded with just 15 percent of students reporting they consumed alcohol in the past month, declining 28 percent since 2020, 43 percent since 2012, and 62 percent since 1991. 

The results show significant progress made toward eliminating underage drinking across the country. According to the MTF release, there were unprecedented decreases in underage drinking among America’s teens from one year to the next. 

“We are encouraged to see such historic decreases in both binge drinking and underage drinking among America’s youth,” said Chris R. Swonger, president and CEO of Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and Responsibility.org. “We will remain steadfast in our commitment to eliminate underage drinking by providing parents, educators and community leaders with the tools and resources they need to make a positive impact on their kids' lives. Together, we can build on this promising momentum and continue helping our country’s youth make the smart, healthy decision not to drink underage.”  

Responsibility.org's science-based initiatives such as Ask, Listen, Learn and Alcohol101+ work to equip parents and educators with the tools and resources they need to have open and honest conversations with their children and teens about the dangers of underage drinking and binge drinking. These programs have helped jumpstart conversations around these critical issues and allowed parents to play a pivotal role in shaping their kids’ attitudes and perceptions of alcohol. 

Responsibility.org credits its success to a wide variety of partners who support and champion efforts to reduce underage drinking and promote responsibility, including Discovery Education, the American School Counselor Association, its Parent Influencers, Classroom Champions, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, among many other dedicated advocates. 

The full MTF Survey results are available here. 
 

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About Responsibility.org 

Responsibility.org 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. Responsibility.org is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi USA, Inc.; Beam Suntory Inc.; Brown-Forman; Campari Group; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; Pernod Ricard USA; and William Grant & Sons. For 30 years, Responsibility.org 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 www.Responsibility.org.  

 

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