Youthful Drinking Drop Hits New Lows in U.S.

The youthful drinking drop in the US has reached a new low. The federal government conducted a nation-wide survey. Its findings? Underage drinking during the previous month among 12 to 17 year olds dropped 34% between 2003 and 2013.

Underage drinking  hit record historic lows. It did so for all measures of consumption. This included heavy and heavy episodic drinking. Such drinking is often called binge drinking. These findings are consistent with other national studies.

The survey is conducted annually. Each time it uses a nationally representative sample of about 67,500 people.

The underage youthful drinking drop in the U.S. is not new. It has has dropped greatly over the past 35 years. And continues to decline.

youthful drinking dropIt’s a myth that underage drinking is illegal. It’s assumed that it is. But the laws in most states of the US permit people under the age of 21 to drink legally. The places and situations for legal under-age drinking vary. Learn more at Under-Age Drinking Laws: Drinking Legal in Most States in US.

The myth that underage drinking is always illegal intimidates most parents. They’re afraid to teach their children how to drink safely and in moderation. This is harmful.

Groups that teach young people how to drink in moderation by their parents tend to have fewer alcohol problems. Even in the US, drinking with parents is protective against alcohol abuse.

Source for the Youthful Drinking Drop

  • Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. HHS Pub No.  (SMA)14-4863. Rockville, MD: SAMSHA, 2014.


  • Foley, K.L., et al. Adults’ approval and adolescents’ alcohol use. J Adolesc Hlth., 2004, 35(4), 345-346.
  • Kelly, A., et al. How important is the context of an adolescent’s first alcoholic drink?  Euro Addict Res., 2012, 18(3), 140-148.