A new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows a significant decline in the level of past month (current) underage alcohol consumption, as well as a drop in underage binge drinking. The report shows that level of current underage drinking among those aged 12 to 20 decreased from 28.8 percent in 2002 to 22.7 percent in 2013.
It’s encouraging news. This information is indicating that social norms are changing, and that prevention efforts — by educators, agencies, parents and other communities — is working.
However, alcohol still remains the most widely used substance of abuse among youths aged 12 to 20. 5,000 people under age 21 die each year from alcohol-related car crashes, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, and other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning.
Clearly, there’s still work to be done, and prevention to continue.
SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You” is an underage drinking prevention campaign that helps parents and caregivers start talking to their children early about the dangers of alcohol. There are many useful resources for parents and other adults, including information, PSAs, an app, and more.
Sources and related links:
- New report shows steady decline in underage drinking from 2002 to 2013 – SAMHSA
- Power of Parents: Educating parents and caregivers about the dangers of underage drinki – MADD.org
- Alcohol use, binge drinking continues to fall among underage, report finds – Washington Post
- Underage Drinking – NIAAA.org