A shocking new study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that teenagers across America are putting down the booze - here's why.
According to a new government report, both drinking and binge drinking amongst teens and underage Americans has dropped significantly between 2002 and 2013. St. Louis Today reports that among people aged 12 to 20, the percentage of drinkers dropped from 28.8 percent to 22.7 percent.
The number of underage binge drinkers, defined as someone who consumed five or drinks or more in one sitting, also declined from 19.3 percent to 14.2 percent over the same time frame, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s report.
The agency surveyed more than 30,000 people from the 12 to 20 age group across the country. It found that there are roughly 8.7 million underage drinkers in the U.S, 5.4 million of which defined themselves as binge drinkers.
The survey also noted that alcohol remains the substance of choice among most young people – 17 percent of respondents reported regularly using tobacco, while only 13.6 percent said that they used illegal drugs.
The study echoes a trend that has been observed in recent years. The drop in underage drinking is likely the result of concentrated efforts to educate young people on the risks of binge and underage drinking.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, underage drinking can slow down brain development and contribute to violence, auto accidents, and even drowning. Alcohol is a factor in nearly 4,300 underage deaths each year, as well as hundreds of thousands of hospital visits.
While the younger section of the population has experienced a sharp decline in binge drinking, the number has more or less remained flat over the same time period. The majority of alcohol-related deaths in the country occur among white males between the ages of 35 and 64.