WASHINGTON, DC—The recent release of the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration shows that although underage drinking remains a persistent problem among youth, there are strong indications that efforts to fight underage drinking are working.
According to the newly released survey, about 10.1 million Americans between ages 12-20 report current alcohol consumption. This represents 26 percent of this age group for whom alcohol is illegal. The rates of past month alcohol consumption by those aged 12-20 all declined from the previous year. In 2008, 26.4 percent of 12-20 year olds reported drinking alcohol in the past month – a decrease of 5 percent, while 17.4 percent reported that they participated in binge drinking – a decrease of 6.5 percent. Additionally, 5.5 percent of 12-20 year olds used alcohol heavily in the past month, defined as binge drinking five or more days in the past month – a decrease of 8.3 percent. All of these figures represent the largest single year decrease for each respective category.
While the decreases are a positive sign, there is still much more work to do. One such area is among students in college drinking, where the pattern of higher rates of consumption among full-time college students (18-22 year olds) has remained relatively unchanged since 2002.
The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers.; Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc.; is dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. By distributing award-winning programs such as Brandon Tells His Story; Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking; Ask Listen Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix; and Alcohol 101+ to millions of youth and their parents, The Century Council will continue its comprehensive efforts to ensure that underage drinking continues to decline.
For more information on The Century Council and its educational programs, please visit www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council