Survey Finds Number Of Underage Binge Drinkers Dropped In Several States

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Number Of Underage Binge Drinkers Dropped In Several States, Says Survey

Data from a recent national survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveals that the number of underage persons engaging in binge drinking in the U.S. has fallen significantly since 2010.

Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. Between 2010 to 2012, nearly 16% of persons aged 12-20 years old in the U.S. reported engaging in binge drinking in the past month. That number has now decreased to 14.4%, according to the statistics gathered from 2012-2014.

Still, the data indicated that 5.5 million adolescents were engaging in alcoholic binges in the U.S., but the decline reveals there are now half a million fewer underage persons drinking to excess. Of the 38 million aged 12-20 in 2010 to 2012, more than 6 million self-reported as recently engaging in binge drinking but that number has now dropped to 544,000.

However, alcohol is still the most abused substance by persons under age twenty-one and results in more than 4,300 fatalities per year for those who are under the legal drinking age – mostly from car accidents. Also, in 2010, underage persons had almost 190,000 emergency room visits related to alcohol-fueled injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the total economic cost of drinking underage in the U.S. is $24 billion. Previously, research has also indicated that underage drinking results in poor academic performance and more behavioral and legal issues.

The new report also broke down national figures by region. When the numbers from 2010 to 2012 were compared to those from 2012 to 2014, a total of 18 states revealed a substantial decrease and were responsible for the collective drop in underage binge-drinking in the U.S.

These included California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The greatest number of underage binge drinkers were found in North Dakota (more than 21%) with Utah at the lowest of under 11%.

~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology


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