Drinking by Students Dropping to Historic New Lows in U.S.

Drinking Alcoholic Beverages

Drinking by students and other young people continues to hit new lows. In fact, it has been for dropping for decades.

For example, look at the statistics on drinking among high school seniors.1

The proportion who have ever consumed alcohol is down (Fig 1).

alcohol abuse

Figure 1

Those who had alcohol during the previous year is down (Fig 2).

alcohol abuse

Figure 2

The proportion who had alcohol during previous 30 days is down (Fig 3).

alcohol abuse

Figure 3

High school seniors who recently had alcohol daily is down (Fig 4).

alcohol abuse

Figure 4

The proportion who consumed five or more drinks on an occasion within previous two weeks is down (Fig 5).

alcohol abuse

Figure 5

drinking by studentsThe situation is the same for students in the eighth and tenth grades as well. It’s the same for college and university students. And it’s the same for other young adults. The proportion who drink has dropped for decades. So has the proportion who drink heavily.2

The trend for over a third of a century is the same. Down. Down. And down even more.


The Belden Tribune (NM) reported that alcohol sales to minors are a serious problem throughout the entire state. The editor expressed outrage.  “[T]he sheriff should catch one or two of these lawbreakers and have them hauled up before the court.” That would serve as an example to others who are exploiting young people. He also urged parents to help to law enforcement authorities. They could do that by identifying those who are providing alcohol to underage drinkers.

All of this was reported in issues of The Belden Tribune published in 1909.


  1. Johnston, L. D., et al.  Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use, 1975-2014. Ann Arbor: ISR, U. Michigan, 2015.
  2. Ibid.

Popular Resources on Drinking by Students

Austin, J. Underage Drinking. Rosen, 2016.

Dedel, K. Underage Drinking. Washington: Dept. Justice, 2010.

Duffy, P. Parenting Your Delinquent, Defiant, or Out-of-Control Teen. Oakland, CA : New Harbinger, 2014.

Espejo, R. How Does Advertising Impact Teen Behavior? Detroit: Greenhaven, 2012.

Marcovitz, H. Should the Drinking Age be Lowered? San Diego: ReferencePoint, 2011.

Piehl, N. Underage Drinking. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2010. (Juvenile)

Scherer, L. Underage Drinking. Rosen, 2016.

Schlessinger Media. Alcohol: Teen Drinking. Wynnewood, PA: Schlessinger, 2004. Juv video.

Scott, A., et al. Done Drinking: Getting Straight, Staying Sober. Hamilton, NJ: Films Media Group, 2012. Video

Shannon, J. Alcohol Information for Teens. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2005.