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Study: Underage Drinking Reaches Record-Low Levels


WASHINGTON, DC — Alcohol use by teens has dropped dramatically over the last two decades, reaching new-record lows, according to a recently-released landmark study.

The University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future analysis of underage alcohol, drug and tobacco use found that alcohol use by the nation’s teens has continued a long-term decline through 2014:

  • Among eighth-graders, 30-day use showed a 64 percent decline since first measured in 1991;
  • Among 10th graders, 30-day use is down 45 percent since 1991; and
  • Among 12th graders, use is down 45 percent since first measured in 1975.

All three grades surveyed in the study showed a statistically significant decline in the proportion of students reporting any alcohol use.

In addition, the proportions of teens who report “binge drinking”— that is, consuming five or more drinks in a row at least once in the two weeks preceding the survey – are also at record lows.

Binge drinking among eighth-graders is down 62 percent since 1991; down 40 percent among 10th-graders since 1991; and down 47 percent among 12th-graders since 1975.

America’s brewers and beer importers praised the findings of the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study as a result of greater awareness, education and partnerships among parents, educators and industry.

“The findings of the University of Michigan study are encouraging, especially for our industry, which is committed to responsibility,” said Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy. “But as parents and neighbors ourselves, we know that the work must continue. We are committed to working with school PTAs, law enforcement and local leaders to help in the effort to reduce underage drinking.”

Beer Institute members have invested in hundreds of programs and initiatives to support public safety, education and prevention, including those aimed at reducing underage drinking.  These initiatives are outlined in a white paper, “Commitment to Responsibility,” recently released to Capitol Hill.


Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults. Each year, a total of approximately 50,000 8th, 10th and 12th grade students are surveyed (12th graders since 1975, and 8th and 10th graders since 1991). The Monitoring the Future Study has been funded under a series of investigator-initiated competing research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institutes of Health. MTF is conducted at the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

The Beer Institute is the national trade association for the American brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. First founded in 1862 as the U.S. Brewers Association, the Beer Institute is committed today to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility: Connect with us @BeerInstitute and on Facebook.