The 2012 Monitoring the Future Study reported continuing decreases in alcohol consumption among students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades. With reported consumption rates at the lowest since the survey began measuring rates, the data is an indicator of success and the progress made to reduce underage consumption. Statistically significant decreases were observed from 2011 to 2012 among nearly all prevalence rates among 8th graders including lifetime consumption, past year, current consumption, and binge drinking. The Century Council is particularly pleased with the continued downward trend among 8th grade students who are the target for our national Ask, Listen, Learn; Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program. The largest program of its kind, Ask, Listen, Learn reaches millions of middle school students, their parents, and teachers each year.
Nearly 70% of 8th graders report they have not ever consumed alcohol. Lifetime consumption among 8th grade students has decreased significantly over the past year, down 11 percent proportionally from 33% in 2011 to 29% in 2012. Annual consumption among 8th grade students also declined significantly from 2001 to 2012, decreasing 12 percent proportionally from 27% in 2011 to 24% in 2012.
Past month consumption reached a record low level among 8th grade students – one in nine (11%) report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days down significantly from 13% last year. Over the past five years, from 2007 to 2012, current alcohol consumption rates declined 31 percent proportionally from 16% to 11% among 8th graders.
Binge drinking rates (five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks) which have been slowly declining among 8th graders over the past two decades continued to decrease over the past year. Five percent of 8th grade students reported binge drinking in 2012 a statistically significant decrease from 6% in 2011 and from the peak 13% noted in 1993.