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Underage Drinking on the Decline, Report Says

Underage drinking and binge drinking by minors is on the decline across the United States, according to a new government study.

My Central Oregon, Jun 12, 2015

A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that drinking among all U.S. residents from age 12 through 20 dropped 6.1 percentage points in the years between 2002 and 2013, the last year of data used in the study. Underage binge drinking decreased 5.1 percentage points, during the same period.

In 2013, the final year of the study,  22.7 percent of the nation’s young people reported that they had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days, and 14.2 percent of underage people reported they had engaged in binge drinking, or more than five drinks in one day,  in the same time period.

Not surprisingly, college drinking is higher than elsewhere. The survey found that 59.4 percent of the college-age population reported drinking in the prior 30 days.  The rate of binge drinking for ages 18 through 20 has stayed between 39 percent and 44 percent for the past two decades,

Rich Lucey, special assistant to the director at SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse, told USA Today he attributes the decline to stricter underage drinking laws.

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