The 2009 Monitoring the Future Study continues to reflect longer-term, gradual decline in underage drinking among American youth. From 2004 to 2009 decreases were noted in lifetime, past year, past month, and binge drinking prevalence rates of alcohol consumption among all three grade levels. Perceived availability of alcohol continues to trend downward, reaching record low levels in 2009 among teens. The declines in alcohol consumption may be a reflection of the decline in the reported availability of alcohol. Reported availability of alcohol among 8th graders declined significantly from 2008 to 2009 – down more than two percent to 62%.
The latest edition of the survey reveals a statistically significant decline in the annual rate of alcohol consumption among 8th graders from 2008 to 2009, reaching a historic low level of 30%. Among 10th and 12th graders annual consumption remains relatively unchanged (53% and 66%, respectively). Monthly consumption rates and occasions of being drunk in the past 30-days in 2009 also remain unchanged among all students; however, 8th graders did show a slight decline in 30-day consumption. While reaching record low levels, the proportion of students reporting they had been drunk in the past month remains the same from 2008 to 2009 across all three grade levels. According to the 2009 Study incidents of binge drinking, that is having five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks, declined and reached a record new low level among 8th graders – less than one in ten (8%) of 8th graders reports binge drinking, 18% of 10th graders, and 25% of 12th graders.
It goes without saying that we'd all like the numbers to be zero for every category. We are pleased that The Century Council's point of sale programs such as the '65% Campaign' and the recent 'We Don't Serve Teens' initiative, as well as our continuing focus on middle school kids and their parents through our Ask Listen Learn program, are having a positive impact. We will continue to do more and encourage others to as well. Say 'yes' to a healthy lifestyle and 'no' to underage drinking.