The Monitoring the Future survey is one of the leading annual studies of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. Today, they announced their 2011 survey results, which showed marked decreases in almost all categories of underage drinking. The survey, a representative sample of students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade levels in the US, reported historic lows of alcohol consumption, indicating that the majority of high school students are not drinking.
Annual alcohol consumption among students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade has decreased at all three grade levels; statistically significantly decreases were recorded among 8th and 10th graders from 2010 to 2011 (down 2.4 and 2.3 percent, respectively) and down almost two percent (1.7) among high school seniors. The number of students who report being drunk in the past year declined over the past year among students in all three grade levels.
From 1991 to 2011 the proportion of students reporting past month consumption has declined nearly in half among 8th graders, by more than one third among 10th graders, and about one quarter among HS Seniors over the past 20 years. The lead researcher, Dr. Lloyd Johnson, attributed this decline to a decline in perceived availability of alcohol among 8th graders, proving that our efforts to reduce underage drinking sales and social hosting have been working!
Binge drinking is down 1.3% since last year among all three grade levels combined to a low of 13.6%. The decline in binge drinking has been greatest among younger teens - since 1991 binge drinking has declined 41% among 8th graders compared to 28% among 12th graders. This considerable decline in binge drinking among 12th graders indicates a cultural change among high school seniors - this drop in binge drinking is truly stunning.
Coming on the heels of declining drunk driving fatalities, this is but more fantastic news as we close out 2011. We'd like to thank all of our partners who have been instrumental in creating this decline. Your persistent advocacy for health and responsible alcohol consumption is what made this decline happen.