High School Drinking Drops

The proportion of high school students in Massachusetts who drink alcoholic beverages fell over 13% in the two years between 2001 and 2003, according to the Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Heavy drinking (sometimes called ‘binge drinking”) dropped almost one-fifth in the same two-year period.

These latest findings are based on an anonymous survey of 3,624 students from 50 randomly selected public high schools in the state.

Some educators were “shocked” because they thought drinking among teens was a rapidly growing epidemic. Indeed, that’s the picture commonly painted by alcohol activists and subsequently presented by the media. However, these findings of declines are consistent with well-documented nation-wide trends in underage drinking.

Detailed information on high school drinking over time is found in the Youthful Drinking section of Alcohol Abuse.


  • Sataline, Suzanne. Survey shows drop in teen smoking, drinking, drug use. The Boston Globe, 5-21-04; Associated Press. Survey: Drinking, sex on decline in high schools. www.thebostonchannel.com (5-21-04).