Underage Drinking Among American Youth Remains Significantly Lower than Peak Years
Underage drinking among American teens was at or below pre-pandemic levels in 2022
Arlington, Va.— Today, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released the results of its 2022 Monitoring the Future (MTF) Survey, which tracks long-term behaviors of substance use and related attitudes amongst 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students.
The majority of American teens in grades 8, 10, and 12 combined report they have never consumed alcohol in their lifetime (59 percent). Lifetime, annual, current and binge drinking prevalence rates showed little or no change from 2020 to 2022, after unprecedented declines in 2021, among students in 8th, 10th and 12th grades, but all rates are significantly lower than peak years.
More specifically, the survey found the following:
- Nearly six out of ten teens report they never consumed alcohol.
- In 2022, past 30-day consumption and binge drinking remained at near record low levels and below pre-pandemic levels. Current drinking among teens has declined 36 percent over the past decade while binge drinking has been reduced by 49 percent, proportionally.
- Perceived ease of accessing alcohol declined significantly among 8th graders in 2022 while the disapproval of binge drinking among high school seniors increased significantly.
The 2022 study results show continuing and gradual progress being made toward eliminating underage drinking across the country, but more work remains.
“As a father of two teenage sons, I am still encouraged by the progress we are making to keep alcohol out of the hands of anyone under the age of 21,” said Chris Swonger, president and CEO of Responsibility.org and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). “Although we have seen a slight uptick in underage drinking levels from 2021 to 2022, we know that education and support are key to helping young people make safe and responsible choices. The pandemic affected the way we all live our lives, so we at Responsibility.org will continue to evolve the ways in which we communicate with educators, families, and communities to keep kids substance-free and ultimately eliminate underage drinking.”
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. The newly relaunched We Don’t Serve Teens campaign brings together communities, businesses, and families to keep alcohol out of the hands of anyone under the legal drinking age. These efforts 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, Classroom Champions, and the National Association of Elementary School Principals, and its team of social media parent influencers among many other dedicated advocates.
The full Monitoring the Future Survey results are available here.
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; Constellation Brands; DIAGEO; Edrington, Mast-Jägermeister US, Inc.; Moët Hennessy USA; Ole Smoky, LLC; Pernod Ricard USA; and William Grant & Sons. For more than 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.